Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Trails Technical Assistance

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The following is a list of various documents and links to other websites to be used as resources to assist trail organizations, community and user groups, planning organizations, interested individuals and others in planning, designing, developing and maintaining trails. Federal and state funded grant programs are available to aid in trail development including the Recreational Trails Program.

OPRHP Trails Technical Documents

These documents were designed for use within New York State Parks to help guide the design, development and maintenance of trails but can be used as resources for trail projects outside of the Parks. These documents may be updated periodically. Additional documents will be developed in the future as part of this series.

Design, Development and Maintenance

Proper trail design and development are essential to creating sustainable trails and trail systems. The following manuals with links are provided as resource guides for trail design, development and maintenance:

Trails Training

American Trails hosts The National Trails Training Partnership where you can find listings of trainings, workshops and webinars being conducted across the country. Visit to find a training opportunity near you.

Recognitions and Awards

Recognition of volunteers, staff, and others for their time and expertise is extremely important. It shows gratitude for the individual's or group's time, effort, and accomplishments and encourages and motivates them to continue. Recognition can come in many forms including food, gifts, letters of appreciation and plaques and awards.

The New York State Trails Council has put together the following table to provide some guidance on appropriate ways of recognizing individuals and groups and a sample list of ways to say thank you.

Rail Trails

Over 650 miles of former railroad in urban, suburban and rural communities has been developed into rail trails within New York State to date. An inventory conducted by OPRHP suggests that over 5,500 miles of historic rail corridor are no longer used for rail road purposes. This presents a vast opportunity for developing rail trails to connect communities with environmental and recreational resources and become valuable assets to communities. The following documents provide guidance and better understanding of the process of converting rails to trails.

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., whose mission it is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people. Their website provides a wealth of information and resources for conversion of rails to trails.

Other sources