Trail systems protect regionally significant natural landscapes and/or significant or unique natural features. Through protection of resources and preservation of open space, trails define zones free of human habitation and development areas. Also, greenways and corridors protect examples of natural resource features.
Outdoor recreation has also proven to be one of the best sources of environmental education. Trails and greenways provide information to visitors about the importance and value of our natural environment. Through personal interactions with vegetation, geology and wildlife, users come to learn about and appreciate natural settings.
Sustainability and responsible behaviours are important factors in realizing optimum environmental benefits while also accommodating recreation use. User awareness programs, communications, careful trail planning and design, and stewardship are key program elements that support trail environmental benefits and trail sustainability.
Source: Alberta Recreation and Parks Association: Trails Policy Paper