Reference Materials

Books For Maintainers

Appalachian Trail Design, Construction, and Maintenance: The primary stewardship manual for volunteers who are involved in designing, constructing, or maintaining portions of the Appalachian Trail. Available through the Ultimate A.T. Store (call 888-287-8673 for A.T. maintainer discount).

Appalachian Trail Fieldbook
: Field supplement to Appalachian Trail Design, Construction, and Maintenance. Available through the Ultimate A.T. Store (call 888-287-8673 for A.T. maintainer discount).

USDA Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook

Trail Maintainers and Managers

Safety first

Keep safety in mind when working on the Trail. Basic safety equipment for all trail work includes a first-aid kit, boots, work gloves, long pants, and appropriate dress for the weather.

The job hazard analyses (JHAs) posted below provide information on potential hazards, safety gear, and safety recommendations for various types of trail work. They are intended as guidelines and may not be comprehensive. Trail Maintenance Tasks, Hazards, and Recommended Safety Gear and the JHAs appropriate to the work planned should be reviewed by all participants before every work trip on the Appalachian Trail.

Remember that individual Trail maintainers have the obligation to say "NO" and walk away from any situation they determine to be an unacceptable risk.

Trailwork Tasks, Hazards, and Safety Gear 
JHA Trailwork 
JHA Fueling Small Gas Engine
JHA Chainsaw Operation 
JHA Crosscut Saw Operation (modified Jan 2014) 
Interagency Hardhat Inspection Guide
USDA FS Tech Tip Hardhat Inspection and Maintenance 
Riding Mower Checklist  
String Trimmer Training 
USFS Health and Safety Code Handbook
NPS Trail Bridge Inspection Guidance 

Trail Maintaining Club Documents

The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has adopted guidelines that other Trail clubs may want to use as a reference source on potential hazards and safety precautions for various activities, including trail work: 
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference - Outdoor Activity Safety Guidelines

Reference Manuals and Plans

Backcountry Sanitation Manual (2nd Edition) (posted August 2014)
Organized Group Management Manual - First Edition (posted January 2016)
Camping Impact Management on the A.T.
Food Storage Cables
Trailhead Kiosks, 2012 Update to Trailhead Bulletin Board 
Planning Guide - A.T. Community Kiosks 

Environmental Planning

Trail projects may require review to assure compliance with federal environmental laws and other regulations. The table below provides information on when to seek review for projects on Appalachian Trail lands. State and municipal regulations also may apply. Consult your ATC regional office for assistance. A project proposal and review form can be found on the Local Management Planning page

Trail Maintenance and Construction Review and Compliance Guidelines (02-20-2013) 


USFS Accessibility Guidebook for Outdoor Recreation and Trails
USFS Accessibility Guidelines (FSORAG) - Pit Toilets
USFS Region 8 Accessible Moldering Privy Design 
USFS Region 8 Accessible Moldering Privy Materials List 
USFS Region 9 Accessible Moldering Privy Design
Increasing Opportunities for Access on the Appalachian Trail: A Design Guide

Facility Inventory Update Process 

ATC, NPS-APPA, and the Appalachian Trail maintaining clubs have undertaken a Trail-wide inventory to count every location and feature along the A.T. corridor. This information helps us prioritize limited funds and resources toward their continued preservation. Improving project development and cost estimation, tracking, and reporting will also make the Appalachian National Scenic Trail more competitive for federal funds.

To keep the information current, work completed by ATC and Trail club volunteers needs to be reported. While a database system is being developed, fillable PDF forms for each facility type are to be used in the interim and are posted below. (Word forms are available by contacting [email protected].)

The forms are to be used to report completed improvements and alterations, not for planning purposes. They should be used only to report on work accomplished with non-APPA funds. APPA funded projects will be captured through the Capital Plan and other task agreement reporting procedures.

Questions and comments should be directed to [email protected] or your ATC regional office.

NPS A.T. Facility Management - Compliance Update Presentation (03-02-17)

Inventory Update Process Cover Letter 1.1
Inventory Update Process Flow Chart
A.T. Bridge Update Form (Version 1.5)
A.T. Designated Campsite Update Form (Version 1.5)
A.T. Parking Area Update Form (Version 1.5)
A.T. Privy Update Form (Version 1.5)
A.T. Scenic Vista Update Form (Version 1.5)
A.T. Shelter Inventory Update Form (Version 1.5)
A.T. Side Trail Update Form (Version 1)
A.T. Treadway Update Form (Version 1)