Trail Building History

Trails of the Past:

The Forest Service began building trails in the 1890s, when the national forests were first set aside as forest reserves. Those trails were not scenic walks, but designed as the quickest way between two points and built primarily for communication and fire fighting activities. Random trails created by the consistent use of visitors to access scenic areas were not of much concern to the early Forest Service. A 1915 Forest Service publication, Trail Construction on the National Forests, discerns the two types of trails:

“Mere ways through the forest, whether marked or not, are not regarded as trails; they are matters of woodcraft rather than of permanent forest improvement. A trail is a narrow highway over which a pack animal can travel with safety during the usual period when the need for a highway exists.”1

In the days before telephones and radio, Forest Service trails were the means of communication between remote stations. Travel and communication was done (continue)

 

 

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