Currently, there is increasing pressure to provide recreation opportunities to a growing population and a growing diversity of recreational interests. From hiking to cycling to horseback riding to snowmobiling, there is an expanding list of activities that can take place on the landscape and on trail systems at any given time of the year. Given these pressures, land managers have had to respond with management planning and administrative processes that can balance the capacities of the resource with the demands of trail users and their various styles of recreation.
Since 2007, a project in northern Minnesota, the Northwoods Regional ATV Trail System, has provided an example of a thoughtful and effective approach to responsible recreation trail design, development, monitoring, promotion, and management. This report summarizes the planning and public engagement process and describes on-going responsible land management systems used to support the Northwoods Regional ATV Trail. Also discussed are key considerations in the management of responsible recreation trails and services in order to optimize economic, social, and environmental benefits.