Steps to Build a Blue Trail: Manage

Maintain your Blue Trail

Susan Simonson, Hagerstown, MD - Antietam Creek Rubbish Roundup 2013 2A comprehensive maintenance plan will ensure your Blue Trail is a safe and desirable community asset. Safety is central to all maintenance operations. A maintenance plan should include scheduling and documenting inspections of launch and campsite conditions, proper and adequate signage, removal of debris in and around your Blue Trail, and coordination with other groups and governmental entities associated with trail maintenance.

Maintenance to be performed regularly

Inspections are integral to all maintenance operations. Inspections should occur on a regularly scheduled basis, the frequency of which will depend on the amount of use, type of use, and location. Inspections should be documented for your records and include the condition of launches, campsites, picnic areas, signs, other facilities.

Sweeping the blue trail for debris such as fallen logs and other hazards is one of the most important aspects of blue trail maintenance, helping ensure user safety. Waterways should be cleared of potentially hazardous debris. To learn more about removing debris see Resource: Debris Removal.

Trash removal is important from a safety and aesthetic viewpoint. Trash removal should take place on a regularly scheduled basis, the frequency of which will depend on trail use and location. Organizing a cleanup is a fun and easy way to engage volunteers. To learn more about organizing a cleanup see National River Cleanup.

Schedule regular maintenance and repair tasks to keep the blue trail clean and safe. These tasks should be prioritized based on trail use, location, and design.

Maintenance to be performed as needed

Launch sites should be closely tied to the inspection schedule. Prioritization of repairs is part of the process. The time between observation and repair will depend on whether the needed repair is deemed a hazard, to what degree the needed repair will affect the safety of trail users, and whether the needed repair can be performed by the trail maintenance crew or outside entities.

Record keeping is essential to a successful maintenance program. Accurate logs should be kept on items such as activities, hazards found and action taken, maintenance needed and performed, and so on. Records can also include surveys of the types and frequency of use of certain trail sections. This information can be used to prioritize trail management needed.

Accurate mapping is important from a maintenance standpoint. You may need to update a map every few years, especially if new amenities (campsites, launches, riverside businesses, etc.) are added. For more information on maps see Promote a Blue Trail: Create a Map and Interpretative Guide.

Law enforcement agencies should be aware of the location of blue trail and launch sites and the level of use they receive. Increased law enforcement awareness may be addressed on an as needed basis.