Arlington’s Natural Surface Trails Study



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About the Project

Arlington’s Natural Surface Trails Study will: 

  • inventory and assess the County’s trail system,  
  • analyze current best practices for trail sustainability, and  
  • develop a framework to manage the County’s natural surface trails into the future.  

The goal is to ensure the County’s trail system remains sustainable and provides high-quality access to nature for all park users. 

The scope of work includes: 

  • developing a set of recommendations for trail management and appropriate trail uses, 
  • recommendations for natural resource protection informed by current recreation ecology research,  
  • a comprehensive trail inventory and assessment,  
  • analysis of recreational and natural resource protection needs, and  
  • robust public engagement.  

The Public Spaces Master Plan (PSMP) includes several recommendations to enhance the County’s natural surface trail system and hiking experiences, improve trail connectivity, and explore opportunities to provide off-road cycling recreation opportunities such as pump tracks or cyclocross courses. The PSMP’s Action Plan assigned these actions medium- and long-term priority. However, due to an increase in trail usage during the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns from natural resources advocates about increased recreational use and its impacts to natural areas, and ongoing community requests to provide mountain biking opportunities, these recommendations have become a higher priority.  

Project Timeline

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The inventory and assessment work are funded by Parks and Natural Resources (PNR) operating funds (50%) and Parks Maintenance Capital Feasibility Studies project funds (50%).