Why contribute to CT Trail Finder? From a trail manager perspective
- Every trail post is vetted and approved by those who know it best - the volunteers, trail stewards and park rangers (aka trail managers). CT Trail Finder is accurate and only includes authorized trails and trail uses. This is quite different from many other trail apps that are populated from crowd-sourced data.
- CT Trail Finder connects trail users with trail management organizations.
- CT Trail Finder compliments and promotes local activities. It does NOT replace them.
- CT Trail Finder is an opportunity to contribute to a statewide resource of trails and outdoor resources.
- Prevent overuse by spreading it out.
- Use the option for trail alerts to communicate about closures, flooding, caution such as hunting season and many more.
- Connect trailside services to trails (economic benefit), coming soon!
Other benefits include:
- We are happy to give your cleaned-up GIS data back to you for other uses.
- We can create "embed" code of just your trails, a certain area, or anything for you to put on your website. Seen a sample for the Town of Mansfield trails with multiple trail managers and the CT DEEP Sky’s the Limit Challenge 2022 locations.
These are the overall steps to a Trail Finder posting.
- Communication between the CT Trail Finder Team (email firstname.lastname@example.org) and you. This can be email, a meeting, a walk, you name it.
- Data gathering (CT Trail Finder team and trail manager)
- Narrative. This is the descriptive information includes items like trail name, type, uses, difficulty, accessibility and a description. The description can include links to other websites. Trail Finder wants to promote all of the work of trail organizations across the state! The descriptive information is organized in the Trail Information Fillable Form (pdf) which can be completed, or at least approved, by the trail manager. The Trail Documentation Guide (pdf) explains in detail. As always, contact email@example.com with any questions.
- Geographic (map). Every posting has a map that includes trail lines and trail points. Parking and trailhead are required and there are many other options. See the Map Information section below for more details.
- Trail posting development. The CT Trail Finder teams loads the narrative and geographic information into Trail Finder.
- Trail manager review and approval. We send you a preview link of your posting for review. We are happy to make edits and modifications.
- Publish! The posting is now live on CT Trail Finder and has its own link.
- Ongoing follow-up, advisory notifications, updates and more.
The Trail Documentation Guide explains the steps in more detail including how to get started, the anatomy of a trail posting, and tips and guidelines for developing postings.
Every Trail Finder post contains two types of map information. Acceptable data formats include shapefiles, geodatabase feature classes, KML, GPX. If you have something else that may work, send us an email.
⇒ Lines. The first is the lines, or the trails themselves. Line attributes include things like trail name, blaze color, notes, elevation value and surface type. If you are collecting trail GIS or GPS information, consider collecting it to align with the Connecticut Trail Standard for GIS data. We recommend Avenza Maps for trail data collection and will be posting some resources soon. In the meantime, reach out to the Trails team if you have questions. Minimum line attributes are Trail System, Trail Name*, Blaze*, Accessible*.
⇒ Points. The second type of map information is points of interest. These include parking lots and trail heads along with restrooms, views, waterfalls, bridges, attractions and a whole lot more. Minimum point attributes are Trail System, Point Type (refer to page 4 of the Trail Documentation Guide), Point of Interest Name*, Notes* (text to further describe the point).
*If applicable. Blank or no value is acceptable.
OPTIONAL: GIS Data Preparation Instructions
More tools and instructions for Trail Finder mapping are coming soon!
We continue to develop instructions are for those with GIS software and knowledge who wish to prepare collected trail data for the CT Trail Finder. They are optional and not required. Contact us for instructions or more information.
CT Trail Finder is administered by UConn Extension with the generous support of the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) and the CT Department of Transportation (CT DOT). Other partners include the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG), Connecticut Forest & Park Association CFPA), Connecticut Trail Census, The National Park Service (NPS) Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program and the Connecticut Outdoor Recreation Alliance (CORA). Visit the Partners & Funders page to learn more.