GEOG-473 Seminar on Geographic Research

Document Type

Student Paper

Publication Date

Winter 2-2016


Geographic Information Sciences | Geography | Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Other Environmental Sciences | Physical and Environmental Geography | Spatial Science

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

Trail conditions in the United States are degrading and trail systems do not receive enough funding to repair them in a timely manner. Park managers often conduct trail assessments to collect trail condition data. They use this data to make timely and judicious decisions regarding trail repairs. However, many trail assessments are time consuming, costly, and require high levels of expertise. This project creates a trail assessment methodology that can be applied to a trail with limited funds. The final methodology was efficient, succinct, accurate, and simple to conduct. It uses a problem based methodology where every instance of degradation is recorded along the trail. The trail assessment survey was tested on the Hennepin Canal Parkway trail system in northwest Illinois. This trail is extremely degraded and its maintenance is heavily reliant on volunteers. By creating a trail assessment methodology that is easy to conduct, this study creates a resource for volunteers to collect valuable trail condition information to aid in trail maintenance. Ultimately, this study successfully documented trail conditions along the entire Hennepin Canal Parkway trail system and created an effective, efficient trail assessment methodology that can be applied to other trail systems.