7.1 Trail Design and Wildlife


Trails can be designed to minimize human disturbance impacts on wildlife. Factors influencing short-term impacts include; type of species and flushing distance, type and intensity of human activity, time of year and time of day, and type of wildlife activity. Consult with wildlife experts for guidance.

Key Design Considerations

  • Align trails along or near existing human-created or natural edges rather than bisecting undisturbed areas (see 7.3).
  • Keep a trail and its zone of influence away from specific areas of known sensitive species.
  • Avoid or limit access to critical habitat patches.
  • Provide diverse trail experiences so that trail users are less inclined to create trails of their own.
  • Use spur trails or dead-end trails to provide access to sensitive areas because these trails have less volume.
  • Generally, concentrate activity rather than disperse it.
  • Keep trail construction impact as narrow as possible.
  • Concentrate weed control at road and trail crossings, trailheads, and riparian areas.
  • See 7.2 for buffers based on flight initiation distance.
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