Roads & Trails
Roads and trails on your woodland are used for many purposes, from working in the woodlot to various recreational activities.
Chances are your woodlot already had a road or trails when you acquired it. You may want to upgrade these or build new ones, depending on your management goals.
Planning is a critical step when building roads and trails. Factors to be considered include:
- current and future objectives
- potential erosion
- protection of wildlife & habitat
- protection of wetlands
- environmental regulations and guidelines
- conditions in all seasons
The best time to build a road is usually from mid-summer to mid-fall when the ground is firmer and drier. Contact the NS Department of Environment for approval of any alteration to a watercourse or wetland.
The NS Department of Natural Resources class system rates forest access roads from a high-quality, two-lane 'A' class road to 'D' class, a single lane road designed to carry a loaded tractor trailer at low speeds up to five times a day in dry conditions or when frozen.
Financial help for building and upgrading 'D' class woodlot roads is available from the Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia (FPANS), which operates the Road Access and Tax Program funded by the provincial government. To be eligible you must be a member of FPANS.
Find a road building contractor with a good reputation and ensure a contract includes:
- road diagram
- right-of-way width
- ditch slopes
Trails may be designed specifically for harvesting, recreation or access.
Harvest trails are designed to feed directly onto roads. Factors that should be taken into consideration include:
- size and shape of area to be harvested
- environmental concerns
- road layout
Recreational trails may also be used as harvest trails and vice versa. Planning for recreational trails should include:
- attractive views and features
- linking of special interest sites
- making loops when users must return to same starting point
- consideration of the skill and stamina of intended users
- avoiding if possible:
- ecologically sensitive areas
- areas with poor drainage
- hazardous areas
- terrain with excessive slope
Features such as trail height, width and surface will depend on the requirements of the recreational activities.
If bridges are required, placement and design will depend on each individual situation. Detailed information may be found in Woodlot Roads Stream Crossings available from the NSDNR Library (see below).
Developing Trails in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Trails Federation
Forest Products Association of NS
Forest Access Road Assistance Program
Contractors & Operators
Best Management Practices Manual
Nova Forest Alliance
Natural Resources Education Centre
Information or advice on developing interpretive trails
NS Department of Natural Resources Library
Woodlot Roads Stream Crossings
- G.C. Brathwaite
NS Forest Practices Folder
- Building Woodland Roads
A Forest Landowner's Guide to Building Forest Access Roads
US Forestry Service
The Forest Professional
Occupational Health & Safety Division
NS Department of Environment & Labour
Wildlife Habitat and Watercourses Protection Regulations
NS Department of Natural Resources
NS Permits Directory
Recreational Trail Design & Construction
University of Minnesota Extension
NSDNR Woodlot Management Home Study Program
- Online or Mail
Module 9 Woodlot Recreation
Module 11 Roads & Trails