|With our literature review, we found that once vegetation diminishes
soil erosion accelerates and is augmented by the various geomorphological
and environmental factors (Wilson and Seney, 1994). Therefore, it is desirable
to maintain a good cover of vegetation on the site.
Trampling on vegetation is well documented and studies show that understory vegetation with high density have the most resistance to trampling and inhibit trail widening (Leung and Marion, 1996). This suggests that understorey vegetation is most useful in preventing widening of trails. The lateral spread of a trail is minimized by dense trailside vegetation whereas open meadows generate multiple treads (Leung and Marion, 1996). Grass could be likened to an open meadow, suggesting that the presence of grass is somewhat of an invitation for people to continue widening trails. For these reasons, we feel that the best type of vegetation to select when rehabilitating the site would be something which grows densely and is taller than grass (although, for safety reasons, we feel it is important to maintain visibility and therefore avoid the use of many shrubs).
Although we were unable to find sources on the psychology of trail use, which would have helped us to effectively design a site that would deter people from walking off trails, we did conclude that an effective vegetative detterent could probably be made from vegetation which is prickly and unpleasant to walk through.
We also felt that one of the major purposes of vegetation on the berm would be that of slope stabilization, to prevent gradual erosion of soil from runoff.
In our research, the plant which most effectively met the above needs was Carolina (or Pasture) Rose (Rosa carolina).
With consideration of all of our research, we have created a suggested berm design which would increase the sustainablity of the berm and pathway system. This design is based on the results of our traffic count and a review of possible vegetation types and trail materials.
To enhance sustainability, we have tried to incoporate a wide range of considerations into our berm design, including:
Figure 7.1 is a diagram of our suggested berm design. Please note: We have not yet decided upon the placement of the new permanent path. We may change the placement based on further consideration of the root zones of nearby trees. Table 7.1 shows existing and suggested vegetation.
Figure 7.1: Recommended Berm Design
|1. Norway Maple
2. Scotch Pine
3. Silver Maple
4. Scotch Pine
5. Scotch Pine
6. Scotch Pine
|7. Scotch Pine
8. Silver Maple
9. Norway Maple
10. Norway Maple
11. Norway Maple
12. Norway Maple
|13. Norway Spruce
14. Norway Spruce
15. Norway Maple
16. Norway Maple
17. Norway Maple
18. Norway Spruce
|19. Norway Spruce
20. Silver Maple
21. Norway Maple
22. Norway Maple
23. Norway Maple
24. Norway Maple
|25. Norway Maple
26. Norway Maple
27. Norway Maple
28. Norway Maple
29. Norway Maple
30. Scotch Pine
|31. Scotch Pine
32. Scotch Pine
33. White Ash
|A. Eastern Red Cedar
B. Carolina Rose
C. Wild Strawberry
D. Blue Phlox
Notes about suggested vegetation (all suggested vegetation is native):
A: Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana L.)
B: Carolina Rose (Rosa carolina)
C: Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)
D: Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata)
|These are only a few of many possible selections of attractive native
plants. The design and selection of plants for the site is very much up
to the imagination of groundskeepers. Currently, a list of desirable native
species for planting on campus is being created (contact Larry lamb for
We also had some secondary suggestions, which we did not include for various reasons. Among these are:
Finally, while considering revegetation strategies, we feel it important to note that compaction of soils on trails may reduce the ability of plants to effectively root in these areas. Therefore, some kind of treatment to open and loosen the soil structure of trails is probably neccesary. This could be accomplished by careful disturbance or tilling of the soil on the eroded trails before planting. Care must be taken to avoid damaging the roots of nearby trees.
|Throughout the study we recognized several limitations which influenced
our findings and probably reduced their accuracy. Time was a primary limiting
factor for the study. We sampled three days of the week, during peak hours,
for one week only. We acknowledged that more precise findings could result
from data collection during all times of the day and on every day of the
We also realized that during the spring term there are fewer students on campus thereby limiting the number of people crossing the berm. The weather was nice at this time of year so perhaps people were more likely to use the trails because they were not wet from rain or covered in snow.
The time of day we sampled was a primary influential factor for the survey. We selected a peak time of day, between 11:30h and 13:30h, to interview people crossing the berm. This doubtless affected our survey results, since this is the time many people normally eat lunch. In the morning or late afternoon people would likely have different destinations crossing the berm. If we were to repeat this study, we would make an effort to survey people at various times of the day to ensure a more accurate representation of starting points and destinations.
Our findings on trails included in the literature review are derived primarily from sources that involve alpine sites, although we did make an effort to consult local sources and to find information which pertained to trails in similar situations (ie: campus, urban trails, etc.).
We were unable to satisfy our requirement for aesthetic appeal as well as we would have liked, because we did not have the time or resources to collect adequate information regarding what people would find aesthetically pleasing or displeasing in a trail site.
As for trail design, we were partially limited by our inability to find information on the psychology of trail use, including the factors which cause people to walk in or avoid a certain area. This would be a valuable asset in further efforts at trail design.
|The tally and survey we conducted presented use data and viewpoints
of people crossing the berm. Contrary to our original estimation most people
did not come from or go to the Philip Street / Co-op or Parking Lot B.
We found that most people crossed the berm on routes that were already
in place and did not tend to make their own route over the grass. People
indicated that they used a trail because it was already there and it was
the most convenient and direct way to get quickly from their starting point
to their destination.
Most people used the Paved Path, which indicates to use that it was well positioned. However, a significant number of people chose Trail 1. Trail 1 is located the farthest distance from the Paved Path of any of the trails. The travel needs of people using Trail 1 may not be met by the existing Paved Path, suggesting that a new design strategy for the berm is needed.
Trails 2 and 3 did not have considerable use, and because of their close proximity to the Paved Path we feel that simple structural strategies could easily deter people from using these routes. Trail 4 did not have significant use either but a new trail base could readily rectify any erosion problems on the site.
The majority of respondents viewed the berm as unsightly. This, as well as visual evidence of continuing damage to soil and trees in the study area, indicates a need for rehabilitation strategies. The aesthetic appearance is essential to the holistic functionality of the berm system.
From the results of our research, we learned about the issue of trail erosion, including its causes and effects. We investigated the systems that influence the study site and talked to key actors in these systems. Our research indicated that erosion in the area is likely a problem which needs to be rectified. To this end, we developed strategies and recommendations to ensure that people stay on designated paths.
In the interests of sustainability as our group has defined them, the berm should not only function as a barrier between areas on and off campus, but as a natural site for people to appreciate and enjoy. The berm could feasibly accommodate trails made from alternative natural materials and include structural deterrents and aesthetic elements comprised of native vegetation. Sustainability requires a system to perpetuate indefinitely without changes jeopardizing its functionality. Implementing trails that accommodate peoples' travel needs will reduce erosion and safety concerns, and the carefully planned use of native species would minimize maintenance demands while adding to the ecological sustainability of the campus as a whole. The benefits of establishing a natural and sustainable path system may not be realized until implemented, but afterwards the results will certainly prove how seemingly insignificant sites can effectively perform as a valued landscaping resource.
Based on the results of our study, we recommend:
These recommendations can be implemented by following the plan provided in Section 7.0 of this report. This plan is a suggestion. It does not have to be stringently followed as long as the basic principles described above are adhered to. We hope that, by following these recommendations, we can deter people from walking over the berm and using desired trails, while at the same time enhancing the sustainability of the berm system and the campus as a whole.
Coleman, R. 1981. Footpath Erosion in the English Lake District. Applied Geography, 1,121-131.
Crabe, Terry. Pinery Provincial Park. Personal Communication, July 23, 1997.
Daigle, Jean-Marc and Havinga, Donna. 1996. Restoring Nature's Place. Schomberg, Ontario: Ecological Outlook Consulting and Ontario Parks Association.
Galloway, Tom. Personal Communication, May 22, 1997.
Gardner, L. R. B. and Burley, J. B. "Alpine Trail Erosion in a Colorado Wilderness Area." International Erosion Control Challenge Conference XXV Proceedings, February 15-18, 1994.
Hudak, Joseph. 1984. Shrubs in the Landscape. New York: McGraw Hill Book Co.
Johnson, Lorraine. 1995. The Ontario Naturalized Garden. Toronto: Whitecap Books. **
Jones, Samuel B., and Foote, Leonard E. 1990. Gardening with Native Wild Flowers. Oregon: Timber Press. **
Leung, Y. and Marion, J. L. 1996. Trail Degradation as Influenced by Environmental factors: A State-of-the-Knowledge Review. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 51(2):130-137.
Marsh, William M. 1991. Landscape Planning: Environmental Applications (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.
McKenny, Margaret and Perterson, Roger Tory. 1968. Peterson Field Guides: Wildflowers - Northeastern / North Central North America. (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.**
Peterson, Lee Allen. 1977. Peterson Field Guides: Edible Wild Plants. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.**
Smith, Robert Leo. 1992. Elements of Ecology (3rd ed.). New York: Harper Collins.
Van Dongeen, Les. Personal Communication, June 20, 1997.
Wilson, J. P. and Seney, J. P. 1994. Erosional Impact of Hikers, Horses, Motorcycles, and Off-Road Bicycles on Mountain Trails in Montana. Mountain Research and Development, 14(1): 77-88.
In our consideration of vegetation species we consulted these sources (** indicates that we recommend this source for further vegetation planning):