Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2016


Maintaining accessible trail networks for recreation and travel is an important part of management in the Sehome Hill Arboretum in Bellingham Washington. Trails aid in bringing people into the arboretum so they can appreciate and enjoy what it has to offer. Additionally trails serve the purpose of limiting human impact to known and maintained areas. Unofficial “social” trails can be detrimental to both the accessibility and ecological function of the Arboretum. By adding to the existing trail network, these social trails can confuse park visitors as well as decrease the aesthetic value of the arboretum. Additionally, repeated traffic by hikers can compact soil, trample plants, and disturb wildlife (Sun and Liddle, 1993, Wilson and Seney, 1994). Due to these impacts, the Sehome Hill Arboretum Board, which manages the park, has attempted to limit the existence and impacts of social trails.