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Trails Sustainability Institute

Trail Sustainability Institute, or TSI, was developed to promote the coexistence of conservation and recreation. 

TSI fosters education, conservation, and a culture of land stewardship in the mountain bike/off-road cycling community. With 35 years of sustainable trail building and maintenance experience, Northwest Trail Alliance (NWTA) created TSI as a way to grow the skills and knowledge base of our 5,000+ members.

The current and future areas where multi-use trails exist are also home to plants and animals that make up the rich ecological diversity of the Pacific Northwest. It is our responsibility to build and maintain our trails to give riders and other trail users a meaningful way to experience these spaces and natural areas. It is also our responsibility to build and maintain trails in a way that stewards the land and ecosystem itself, so these spaces carry on for generations.

The TSI curriculum focuses education around building and maintaining our trails within the natural environment using methods that respect the environment. All ages are engaged in the immersive experience of learning best practices to build and maintain trails and develop the next generation of land stewards.

By training people to build sustainable trails, and by training people to lead crews of trail builders, we are raising the level of our own stewardship, and increasing our capacity to build and maintain quality trails.

TSI Instructors

Bob CareyAddison WardwellAndy Jansky
Paul HobsonNancy Stone

Trail Sustainability Institute Episode 1

Trail Sustainability Institute Classes

Trail School: Fundamentals

  • Safety
  • Trail work etiquette
  • Tool identification/uses
  • Trail vision
  • Corridor clearing
  • Proper drainage for water quality protection
  • Invasive plant vectors and preventing spread
  • Basic bench work

Trail school: Crew Leader Training

  • Pre-event preparedness
  • Safety
  • Crew assessment
  • Skill building within crew
  • Situational awareness
  • Time/effort management
  • Support your crew

Trail School: restoration lab (coming soon!)

  • Enhance degraded biodiversity by teaching proper techniques to remove invasive species in current/future trail corridors
  • Mitigate damage by unauthorized trails (or decommission trails)
  • Properly construct or reconstruct trail tread to improve local surface water quality within a watershed.

Advanced Trail school

Various advanced classes offer the next stage in sustainably building specific trail features; some of which are bike-optimized. Advanced class topics include:

  • Rollers and berms
  • Advanced/specialized benching
  • Rock work

There are several training classes given per year. Watch the event calendar and/or Contact Nancy Stone for more details.

Sawyer Training

The NWTA partners with the US Forest Service and other agencies and trail organizations to ensure we have a crew of properly trained sawyers to complete the necessary volunteer work. Watch our event calendar for upcoming sawyer training opportunities.

Heavy Machinery Training

NWTA owns a number of pieces of heavy equipment from simple (gas powered wheelbarrows) to complex (ST240 trail building machine). Effective and safe use of this equipment requires proper training. If you are already an experienced trail builder and want to help out with machine-built trails, contact Daniel Stuart for more information. This training is apprentice-like and requires close to a 40 hour commitment to be productive on the trail building machines.

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