Kay-Linn Enterprises shared project development and management duties with Applied Trails Research and Trail Dynamics to provide field-based trail inventory, assessment and spatial analysis products for more than 220 miles of non-motorized trails throughout the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. Applied Trails Research coordinated spatial data collection and analysis, including a sign and engineered structure inventory. Kay-Linn melded the spatial information with field-determined physical, social, and managerial setting assessment and public/agency survey collection to provide a comprehensive set of recommendations that provides the USFS with solutions to problems and guidance for resource protection and visitor experience management across the Forest. The project also included extensive volunteer outreach and education, with a weekend-long trails education seminar, three field-based education sessions, and five on-the-ground demonstration projects.
The final plan has become a key facet of a collaborative partnership between USFS and non-profit partners Co-Trails to plan for a system-wide strategic plan to improve the condition of existing trails, enhance maintenance protocols of existing trails, and raise and coordinate the knowledge base of trail group volunteers and Forest Service staff. With more than a dozen of the plan’s projects already completed, the project has become a nationally recognized model for agency-volunteer collaboration which was highlighted in the 2014 Recreational Trails Program Report.