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What is trail stewardship?

In 2016, the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act was passed by Congress with bipartisan support and signed into law. The Act focuses on National Forest System trails and requires the US Forest Service to significantly increase the role of partners and volunteers in trail maintenance on all national forests. To meet this directive, the US Forest Service, including the Superior National Forest, began to offer more opportunities for volunteers to participate in maintaining trails.


NVC works in partnership with the Superior National Forest to increase trail stewardship volunteerism. NVC’s role is to recruit, train and bring volunteers to provide needed trail maintenance on the Superior National Forest and in the surrounding wildlands. NVC helps the Superior National Forest increase capacity to care for trails.

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Why do we need volunteer trail stewardship?

Trails provide access to the outdoors for hiking, biking, birding, horseback riding, trail running, and off-highway vehicle (OHV) use. Trails are gateways for families and individuals that provide connections to many kinds of outdoor recreation. In the Superior National Forest this includes recreation activities like canoeing, fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, camping, hiking and more.

The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act was written primarily because the US Forest Service has been unable to meet the demands of increasing recreation use due to declining budgets. The Act emphasizes the need to expand volunteerism to increase forest capacity to provide needed trail stewardship.

Trail maintenance on our nation’s trail network is largely supported by trail stewardship organizations like NVC, who work in partnership with their national forests. NVC leverages government resources by recruiting and training volunteers to care for trails. This is important, needed work that ensures continued access and helps reduce deferred maintenance through volunteerism on the Superior National Forest.

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