Geauga park district horse trail, Chardon, Ohio

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Courtesy of Presto Geosystems

Among nonmotorized uses, horse traffic is the hardest on trails.

'All of the trails that I construct or reconstruct are to a horse traffic standard,' says Dr. Gene Wood, an extension trails specialist with the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Clemson University in South Carolina.

'If I can get to a design and tread condition that will sustain appropriate horse traffic, it will automatically accomodate all other nonmotorized uses'.

Misconceptions about trail building abound. Among the most common is that a poorly designed trail can be made good by repair. This is rarely, if ever, the case. User safety, ecological soundness, and economic sustainability all figure into wildland trail design from the outset - it's difficult, if not impossible, to make significant improvements working backward.

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