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Trail Planning


Trail coordinators should strive to . . .

I. Gain A “Big Picture” Perspective

A. Consult Wisconsin state bike trails plans
http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/state/bike2020.htm (WisDOT)

http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/parks/reports/trails/contents.html (WisDNR)

B. Be familiar with American Association of State Highway Transportation Official’s
Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities

C. Glean information from educational materials; facility tours; networking

D. Conduct informal feasibility study

II. Involve Officials, Potential Trail Users, General Public

A. Create steering committee or work with existing oversight committee

B. Get information to public

C. Interview key interest groups

  • 1. walkers, joggers
  • 2. bike clubs or sports shops
  • 3. roller bladers
  • 4. chamber or merchants associations
  • 5. park & planning commissions, departments
  • 6. landowners
  • 7. realtors, developers
  • 8. elected officials

D. Build coalitions to turn vision/plan into reality

E. Update informal feasibility study

III. Establish Vision/Plan

A. Identify “customers” (i.e., types of users)

B. Consider alternatives

  • 1. purpose of trail (recreation; transportation; education; economic/tourism)
  • 2. traits of trail (multi-use? paved? stand-alone or shoulder?)
  • 3. route (short or long? straight or looped? urban or rural? rugged or easy?)
  • 4. connectivity/relationship with other attractions, trails

C. Conduct formal feasibility study

  • 1. site assessment (ownership; right-of-way; grade; # of bridges; parking; safety)
  • 2. financials (funding options; construction costs; landscaping; signage)
  • 3. maintenance responsibilities

IV. Gain Commitments

A. Secure funding (grants; donations)

B. Obtain land and/or easements

C. Sign contracts

D. Work schedules


Prepared by Kevin Struck, UW-Extension, edits by Oneida County Biking and Walking Trails Council, Inc. 10/03