National Forest System Trail Stewardship Act of 2016

This 15 question survey explores several features of the National Forest System Trail Stewardship Act.  The Forest Service would appreciate your feedback on components of the Act including how best to implement the Act and meet the aggressive schedule of deliverables.

This survey is intended for all trails groups, motorized and non-motorized, hiking and horseback, mountain biking and water trails  Let your voice be heard.  The results of this survey will be provided to the Forest Service to advise them on implementation of this Act.  Survey results prior to March 30th will be most helpful.  

Your participation is critical to ensure the entire trails community voice is represented in the planning and implementation of the features of this Act.  Thank you for taking the time to provide your comments on the Act.  

This survey is hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.  For additional follow-up and discussion please contact

This survey is limited to one response per organization.  Thank you for participating.

* 1. What is the name of your organization?

* 2. Overall - how would you rate the National Forest System Trail Stewardship Act of 2016?  (pick one)

* 3. How satisfied are you with the deadlines for the deliverables in the Act? (pick one)

* 4. How satisfied are you with the goal of doubling volunteer and partner trail maintenance within 5 years? (pick one)

* 5. If not satisfied or very satisfied, what would you like the goal to be?  

The Act requires the Forest Service to establish at least 9 and no more than 15 Priority Trail Maintenance Areas by May 2017.  The Act provides criteria for establishing these areas as:

Reduced access to public land

An increase, or imminent risk of increase, in harm to natural resources,

Jeopardized public safety

Trails that are impassable for intended users

Increased future deferred maintenance costs.

The Act further allows for public comment on the criteria and selection of priority areas.  Some additional criteria have been identified for consideration.  For the following additional criteria please express your satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the criteria.  There will be an opportunity to suggest additional criteria at the end of this section.

* 6. Priority areas should include a mixture of urban-proximate trail systems and historically significant backcountry/ wilderness complexes. (pick one)

* 7. Priority areas should have documented problems meeting trail maintenance and backlog needs (e.g., news reports, Congressional actions, published data, etc.) (pick one)

* 8. Priority Areas should include places where catastrophic events (e.g., beetle-kill, fire, wind throw, etc.) have taken a disproportionate toll on trails and public access. (pick one)

* 9. Priority Areas should be located where improved trail maintenance would provide historically underrepresented communities greater opportunity to connect with the National Forests. (pick one)

* 10. Priority Areas should be located where there is a known presence of volunteer groups available to assist with the priority work (and “shovel-ready” projects). (pick one)

* 11. What other Criteria should be considered for establishing Priority Areas?

Scale of Priority Areas
The scale of priority areas is a potential concern.  To be meaningful priority areas must be large enough to make a difference with the trail maintenance backlog, but not too large to be unattainable given current resources. 

The Forest Service currently manages a trail system of approximately 158,000 miles.   Mathematically, 10% of the trail system would be 15,800 miles, 5% equals 7,900 miles, 1% equals 1,590 miles.  To put this in perspective with impact on the administrative units of the Forest Service the number of miles of trail varies widely by District, with units in the west ranging from 200 – 1,500 miles and units in the east ranging from 50 – 500 miles typically.

* 12. What size would you like to see a Trail maintenance priority area cover?

* 13. Considering that the Act requires a minimum of one priority area per Region and no more than 15 total areas identified what percent of a Region’s trail system should be covered by a trail maintenance priority area?

* 14. It has been suggested that Trail Maintenance Priority areas should have a distinct recognizable  identify, such as “Trails of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area” or “Southern California Urban trails”.

How important is it to you that the trail maintenance priority areas have a distinct recognizable geographic  identity? (pick one)

* 15. As the Forest Service develops their Volunteer Trail Strategy what are the key issues you would like to see addressed?  (pick up to 4)

Thank you for adding your input on the National Forest System Trail Stewardship Act of 2016.  These survey results will be consolidated and submitted to the Forest Service on a regular basis during February and March.  

A copy of the survey results will be posted to the NWSA website at periodically.

A copy of the National Forest System Trail Stewardship Act of 2016 Webinar is also posted on the NWSA website.

National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance

Randy Welsh
Executive Director
100% of survey complete.