Great Trails: Providing Quality OHV Trails and Experiences

 

Great Trails: Providing Quality OHV Trails and Experiences is the definitive book about planning, designing, constructing, managing, and maintaining an Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) trail, trail system, or area.  It is a big statement to make, but the book is loaded with content to back it up.  The guidebook was written to for land managers as the primary audience, with the secondary audience of anyone who works on OHV trails, whether as a volunteer, a private land owner, or agency personnel

 

This is not your average textbook! Great Trails is a 364-page volume written in an easy to read (and understand) narrative style.  The guidebook contains over 1,000 photos plus over 50 additional illustrations, charts, and graphs.  All of these visual tools help readers to understand the concepts discussed in the guidebook.  There are also special sections including: A Closer Look, which describes a concept in greater detail; A Second Look, which takes another look at a topic from a different perspective; Case Studies, examples which illustrate points; A Look Back, a summary of the points in the chapter; Need More, a list of references; and a section called Tips, Tricks, and Traps, which, as you probably guessed, a tip, a trick or misconception, or a trap that will take you down the wrong path.

 

Designing the Guidebook

Full cover of Great Trails guidebookThis guidebook is unique in several ways in addition to the content of OHV trails.  First of all, this guidebook encourages land management agencies to look at their current trail creation process and change the way they do business.  Most land management agencies have 5 separate processes and sometimes personnel to create a trail system.  Those processes are: Planning, Design, Implementation/Construction, Maintenance, and Management.  This book encourages the agencies to start looking at those processes as all part of an inter-related continuum.  When planning a trail system, personnel should be considering how the system will be designed, constructed, maintained, and managed; and so forth.  Trail systems that are created with the entire continuum in mind during every phase, plus communication between any of the personnel involved in any of the phases, have a much greater chance of being sustainable in the long term; and everybody want sustainable trails.

 

This guidebook also uses the concept of designing trails The Great Trail Continuumthat meet the riders’ needs while protecting our natural resources.  Opening a series of old resource extraction or fire routes and calling it a trail system will fail.  OHV trail riders and drivers want what any other recreational trail user wants, a trail system that meets their needs to they have trails they want to stay on versus trails they have to stay on.  This concept curbs a majority of all trail management issues.

 

The third unique aspect of the content ofthis book is that it introduces the WOW factor when creating trail systems.  The WOW factor is a simple concept, creating a trail system that leaves smiles on people’s faces when they have finished the trail and a desire to return to the trail system again.  Achieving the WOW is more complicated and the guidebook focuses an entire chapter to ways to integrate WOW into trail design.

 

The content of the book is focused on OHV recreation.  However, many of the unique concepts in the book can be applied to any type of trail system where the outcome is a well-designed, sustainable trail which meets the needs of the trail users.

 

Partners and More Partners

The need for the guidebook was initially demonstrated by the number and types of partners and contributors to the book.  Funding for the book was provided by:

Amateur Riders Motorcycle Association

American Motorcyclist Association
Bureau of Land Management
Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council
Federal Highway Administration
Golden Eagles Motorcycle Club
Idaho State Parks and Recreation
International Off-Highway Vehicle Administrators Association
Kawasaki Motors Corporation
Maine Department of Conservation
Maryland State Highway Administration
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Montana State Parks
Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association
Motorcycle Industry Council
New Mexico Game and Fish
Ohio Motorized Trail Association
Oregon Motorcycle Riders Association
Polaris Foundation
Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association
Right Rider Access Fund
Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
Texas Parks and Wildlife
United Four Wheel Drive Association
United States Forest Service
Utah State Parks
Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative

 

These organizations run the gamut of OHV businessesrolling dip graphic from Great Trails guidebook and industry, OHV clubs and associations, national OHV organizations, State governments, and federal agencies.    The variety and scope of partners for this project was increased during the compilation of the information for the guidebook.  In addition to the chief author, Dick Dufourd, there were 24 different contributors to the guidebook including additional content, graphics, photos, design, review, editing, and illustrations.  The contributors came from areas such as the National Park Service, outdoors and trail consultants, OHV magazines, and other professionals.

This guidebook won the 2016 Education and Communication Annual Achievement Award from the Coalition for Recreational Trails. 

The content of the guidebook is available for free on an innovative website created just for the guidebook at www.greatohvtrails.com.  You can scan the information on the website itself, plus additional content, or you can download a pdf version of the guide. 

The printed guidebooks can be ordered for a small fee by sending us an e-mail to trailhead@nohvcc.org.