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Trail Building School Overview

IMBA’s Trail Building School teaches IMBA's philosophies and trains local volunteers and land managers on how to build and maintain sustainable singletrack. The school involves three hours in the classroom followed by about four hours in the field doing hands-on trail work and field instruction. Plan this classroom session for Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. (Read more about choosing a trail building project.) Please note that the crews do not teach mechanized trail building, nor do they do construction projects such as boardwalks or bridges.

The Trail Building School is no longer a mandatory element of Trail Care Crew visits; the Crew now delivers this course upon request.

Please note: the Trail Building School requires a minimum of 15 attendees. Potential visit hosts should survey their community to ensure there is enough interest to support the visit. Once a visit has been awarded, hosts should market the event thoroughly. 

Participants are expected to come to both the classroom and field sessions on Saturday. If someone can only come to one, it must be the classroom session. It will take away from the field session experience if people who didn’t attend the classroom session end up asking a lot of questions about things that were covered.

General outline of the classroom presentation:

  • Introduction to IMBA
  • Introduction to the IMBA Trail Care Crew
  • Trail building theory
  • Trail system design concepts
  • Essential elements of sustainable trails
  • Designing a trail
  • Constructing the trail
  • Rerouting and reclaiming trails
  • Armoring techniques
  • Trail maintenance

Who to invite?

  • Any trail user (bike, pedestrian, equestrian, etc.)
  • People interested in or tasked with trail design, building and maintenance, such and land managers and city planners
  • Community service: those who oversee a community service program, those who need to complete a community service project
  • Anyone who would like to understand the elements for trail sustainability
  • Anyone who has to communicate the elements for trail sustainability
  • High school mountain biking teams and local scout troops (16 and older, please)
  • University students (cycling teams, urban planners, parks and recreation majors, etc.)