By Del Albright
Saving (and sustaining) a trail system, protecting access and keeping our off-pavement motorsports alive and well boils down to a proven formula: Engineering, Education, Enlisting and Enforcement. In the simplest of terms, that means 1) design it right; 2) let people know the rules and how to help; 3) get involvement from as many and varied users as you can; and 4) use trail patrols and if needed, law enforcement officers to ensure the rules are followed.
I am borrowing from the fire service all over the country with their fire prevention programs that rely on the three E’s — Engineering, Education and Enforcement. In fire prevention, you design (engineer) a building, house or sub-division in such a way as to minimize the chances of fire. You then educate folks about preventing fires with signs, letters, commercials, school programs and whatever it takes. Then, if that doesn’t work, you bust people with tickets for not complying and thereby jeopardizing not only themselves, but their neighbors.
Here are many of the components of the formula for you to add into your efforts for protecting access:
-Risk Management Assessment
-Water control and runoff
-Water crossings (hardening)
-Rolling dips, waterbars and other erosion/sediment control devices
-Gabions and other rock structures to strengthen and harden trail surfaces
-Vegetation (as a soil stabilizing factor)
-Grade, or slope; out slope/in slope
-Rider conflicts and user needs
-Good inventory of all routes and trails
-Loop trails/roads where possible
-Monitoring, with data collection to meet agency needs and trail future
-Signage to ensure rules are known and “stay the trail” is in effect
-Brochures and handouts
-Check in, kiosks, permits
-Web page/forums and user meetings as needed
-Getting volunteers (users, agencies, businesses) involved
-Volunteer training to ensure leadership and effeciency
-Leadership development and on-going training
-Adopt a trail programs with agencies and land owners
-Organized segmented layout for easy adoption/maintenance
-Publication of volunteer efforts
-Application for grants using volunteer hours
-Grant for LEO or security/cops
-Rules well posted
-Volunteer trail patrol
-Published activities and successes of enforcement as needed
As always, I suggest you belong to and check with past successes of your national, regional and state associations to see how this formula might have already been applied to your area.
If you apply the elements of this formula to protecting access, my 30+ years of landuse (and fire service) tell me we will all have a better and more sustainable trail future!