Why Do Trails Need to Be Maintained?

While Stewards members want to keep trails in good condition, the Forest Service, BLM or any agency responsible for managing public lands follow numerous environmental regulations.

Did you know trails and roads are rated?

The Forest Service uses a three level rating system which considers many aspects of the trails including erosion, trail widening, trail braiding and more.

GREEN-Means the route is in good condition and needs only regular maintenance

YELLOW-Means the route is in need of additional maintenance

RED-Means the route requires priority maintenance and repairs, which if not done may cause the route to be closed

You can help keep trails rated GREEN by staying on the trail

Avoid creating secondary trails, called trail braiding which can cause the route to be rated RED and perhaps closed

The Forest Service must ensure routes are safe for the types of intended use such as-

4x4 trail should be able to be traveled by a stock 4x4 jeep

Motorized single track must be able to be traveled by a dirt bike

This does not mean all routes must be sanitized easy routes. This is where local recreation groups like Stewards of the Sequoia, Bakersfield Trailblazers and Billy Goat Offroad can work with the Forest Service to help determine where important difficult sections are located and see if they can be left intact for challenge opportunity while still meeting guidelines.

In some cases Hard and Easy sections are provided on the same route, but if a route continues to be widened by people going around sections the Forest Service may need to fix the route and narrow it back down.

On 4x4 routes a bulldozer is used to build water bars to reduce erosion, which may seem like grading the route but should be what was needed for the water bar.

Watch a short Stewards video showing Why Trails Are Maintained

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