National Historic and Scenic Trails Methodology, Field Guide, and Training

Logan Simpson’s landscape architects, archaeologists, historic preservationists, biologists, visual resource specialists, and recreation specialists recently worked with the BLM to develop a first-of-its-kind methodology to help inventory, assess, and monitor National Scenic and Historic Trails (NSHTs). Since National Trails often cross multiple administrative boundaries, the BLM purposefully designed the methodology so it could be used by all agencies and organizations who share management responsibilities. This integrated approach provides federal, state, and local agencies and trail organizations with a common framework as they inventory, assess, and monitor each trail’s resources, qualities, values, settings and uses.

The National Trails Methodology considers four landscape elements―natural, scenic, historic and cultural, and recreation―and how they work together to define the nature, purposes, and uses of a trail. An interdisciplinary team made up of agency decision-makers, technical professionals in each resource area, and members of trail organizations and volunteer groups implements the methodology. Together, they determine how to study the trail—from the locations from which inventory will be conducted to how data will be collected and analyzed, and eventually to how resources will be monitored. Cross-agency participation is encouraged when trails cross jurisdictional boundaries.

A companion Field Guide and training curriculum provide the step-by-step guidance needed to carry out the methodology. Both the Field Guide and training emphasize the use of existing programs, skill sets, and data standards whenever possible with simple checklists and a standardized monitoring form to ensure consistency across agencies. BLM anticipates that the NSHT Methodology, Field Guide, and Training will be rolled out in early 2020.