Trails in Farm and Ranch Areas

As new trails are developed, it is important they are designed to be compatible with farm and ranching operations. The farm is a workplace and concerns can arise from nearby trails. Various tools can be used to effectively address most situations

Common Design Solutions

If well designed and managed, trails can achieve a high level of compatibility with the farms and ranches they pass through.

Involve Agricultural Community - Trail planning should involve a strong partnership between the agricultural community and trail proponents. A key to successful trails in agricultural areas is the continued involvement and input of farmers and ranchers, throughout the planning and management processes. 

Trail Routing - Trails should be directed away from or around agricultural areas wherever possible.

Buffers - Leaving a visual or physical barrier between trail users and sensitive areas of a farm or ranch can offer privacy and security.  Five basic types of agricultural buffers include: fencing, physical separation, water features, vegetation and elevation differences.

The abrupt elevation change provided by the dike and the fencing discourage trespass onto adjoining farmland.

Signage - A well-designed, coordinated sign system can help ensure smooth, efficient trail management.  Four general types of trail signs include: do's and don'ts, trail information, interpretive and advertisement.