High Trestle Trail

Creating a Trail Vision

Creating a trail vision

Identify a goal

Identifying the motivations for creating a trail is an important first step that will set the tone for the entire project. The initial motivations for establishing a trail may be many, but it is instrumental to identify the intent of the trail at the onset to create a clear and effective plan going forward, including key community partners. Each trail will have its own story: find what inspires your community.

Organize and mobilize the community

It is easier to see a trail come to fruition when numerous people are involved in the project. Organizing a team and identifying specific roles will make a big difference in maintaining motivation and distributing efforts efficiently and effectively. 

youth on trail

Finding trail partners

  • Chamber/Economic Development
  • City Parks/Recreation
  • County Conservation Board (CCB)
  • County Engineers
  • City Administration
  • Business Owners
  • Bike Clubs
  • Walking Groups
  • Schools

Having support from local, pre-organized groups can create momentum behind to a trail project, especially if they are willing to assist with planning, organizing, fundraising and publicity.

Local health advocates might want to get involved to spur healthier, more active lifestyles. Perhaps parents, teachers and school administrators are interested in expanding opportunities for field trips and local learning initiatives. Different groups, different motivations, same goal.


Consider what kinds of users the trail might accommodate. Will it primarily be a recreational trail, commuter route or combination of the two? Brainstorm potential users and invite them to be part of the project and offer feedback about what they want from a trail. Doing so will help define the goals of the trail, determine how it serves the community’s needs, and galvanize more community members to engage with the project. Broad-based support increases the overall chance of the trail becoming more than just an idea.

  • Identify a trail goal
  • Organize a steering committee and identify roles
  • Find trail partners
  • Consider trail uses 
  • Invite potential trail users to provide input and feedback