Trail Planning and Design

  • Accessibility Guidebook for Outdoor Recreation and Trails: Accessible facilities comply with the accessibility guidelines and standards. A site, facility, or program is either accessible or it is not accessible. The only way to evaluate accessibility is to evaluate the facility’s compliance with the guidelines in effect at the time it was designed, constructed, or altered. There are no shades of accessibility.
  • Adapted Sports: The American Association of Adapted Sports Programs was founded in Atlanta after the 1996 Paralympic Games and in response to a groundswell of interest by parents and community officials in competition opportunities for students with disabilities.
  • ADA: Below are resources and guidelines that provide detailed specifications for accessible trails, picnic and camping areas, viewing areas, beach access routes, and other components of outdoor developed areas for new builds and for altering existing trails. While there are exceptions for situations where terrain and other factors make compliance impracticable, it is important to understand the guidelines when beginning, updating or expanding any trail project. Exceptions are also recognized where compliance would conflict with the Endangered Species Act or other applicable laws.
  • Bikability Checklist: The Bikeability Checklist can help you find the answer. Inside you’ll find insightful questions, allowing you to evaluate your neighborhood’s bikeability. In addition to the questions, the Checklist provides both immediate answers and long-term solutions to your neighborhood’s potential problems.
  • Bikeability Checklist for Teens: Take a ride with friends or family and decide for yourselves if your neighborhood is a friendly place to ride. If you find
    problems, see some suggestions of what you can do to make things better.
  • Braille Trails and Sensory Gardens: Braille trails and sensory gardens offer sustainable and accessible ways to safely experience the outdoors and provide opportunities to interact with nature. Tactile additions such as Braille signs, guide ropes and path markers allow the visually impaired to enjoy trails and gardens without assistance, and accessible pathways remove barriers to mobility regularly experienced by those with disabilities.
  • Cerebral Palsy Guidance: For someone with a physical disability, like those often caused by living with cerebral palsy, getting out and enjoying nature is more of a challenge. To do the kinds of things that non-disabled people do without even thinking about it requires many more steps, as well as accessibility accommodations, and even adaptive equipment.
  • Design Essentials for Active Communities: Active living environments are places where all people are able and inspired to use their feet to get them places. They are places where people of all ages, incomes and abilities can walk and bike-both for recreation and for transportation.
  • Ebikes: Scientific proof that e-bike users have gains in physical activity consistent with cyclists.
  • Hard Surface Trail Maintenace Manual: The purpose of this Trail Maintenance Manual is to assist park, recreation, and trail managers in developing a plan and budget for ongoing trail maintenance. It includes resources and samples to assist in the allocation of personnel and financial resources and determining trail maintenance efforts. You can order the manual online and it is free to mParks Premier Members.
  • Michigan Water Trails Manual: Water trails are an emerging new venue for trails in Michigan. This manual provides an overview of how to go about establishing and managing water trails.
  • MUTCD: Traffic Control for Bicycle Facilities: Chapter 9 from the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) covers traffic control for bicycling facilities, including signage, pavement markings, and more.
  • Working with Trail Opponents: You can take various approaches when working with people who may oppose your rail-trail project In general, you should always stress the benefits of rail-trails and keep adjacent landowners involved in the process. Here are 10 techniques you may find helpful.