Trail Planning, Design, and Development Guidelines


MN Trail resource guideThis informative Guidelines volume received the Coalition for Recreational Trails' 2007 Annual Achievement Award for trail projects funded through the Recreational Trails Program of the Federal Highway Administration.  It was created by the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources and covers shared-use trails, all types of treadways including natural surface trails, winter-use trails and bikeways.


You can pick up a copy of the book from the American Trails Bookstore.


This 300-page spiral-bound publication, several years in the making, provides a first-ever comprehensive how-to guidebook for developing all types of recreational trails. These best practices for professional trail builders are intended to aid Minnesota land managers in applying new, innovative and environmentally sustainable approaches to trail planning, design and construction.


According to Pete Webber, special projects director with the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) of Boulder, Colo., the publication is among the very best. “By detailing a variety of trails from greenways to single-track, Minnesota’s new trail manual provides an impressive range of information in one of the most complete and helpful planning resources available,” Webber said.


Development of the Minnesota Trail Guidelines was funded, in large part, by Minnesota's OHV dedicated trail funds, with additional support from the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program. The project was undertaken in response to the growing, changing demands for trails of all types, particularly the rapid growth in off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails use. The DNR expects this guidebook to prove useful for grant-in-aid trail clubs and volunteers, local government sponsors, educators, and both public and private land managers.

The guidelines address both new and existing trail corridors, summer and winter-use trails, and multi-use trails with paved or naturally-surfaced treadways. Practical, low-cost, and low-tech solutions to the unique challenges faced by Minnesota trail builders are highlighted, recognizing the state’s wide range of soil and site conditions, riparian area concerns, and climatic extremes. Trail project planning, funding, permitting, and environmental review steps are also discussed and references provided for those wishing to learn more.  Although the guide was created for use in Minnesota, the concepts in the guide can be applied in other areas.

Reprints of pages or chapters from the manual for non-commercial purposes are also available at no charge through the Minnesota Dept of Natural Resources.