LEES+Associates worked closely with LSCR Staff to develop the first trails strategy in 2004 and has been working on an updated trails strategy (2016-2018) to guide trail improvements over the next 10 years.
The 2004 trails strategy included a multi-phased consultation program, visioning exercise, and trail-by-trail evaluations and recommendations. An innovative trail head survey that applied qualitative research methodologies (first developed in front and backcountry wilderness areas in the U.S.) provided data to support short and long term trail, amenity and infrastructure decisions.
The 2018 trails strategy repeated the trail head survey methodology, providing valuable data regarding changes in trail use trends and patterns, engaged stakeholders and staff, and compiled data from staff trail evaluations to develop new recommendations and to set priorities for spending.
Challenges that were identified included mitigating environmental impacts of trail use in sensitive ecosystems, balancing the needs of different users on a multi-use trail system, and developing strategies to provide increased access to backcountry trails safely and within fiscal constraints.