Sustainable long-distance trail management: International perspectives

Document Type

Journal Article


Cognizant Communication Corporation


Originally published as : Stender, K., Sanders, D., & Dowling, R. (2018). Sustainable Long-Distance Trail Management: International Perspectives. Tourism Analysis, 23(3), 365-376. Article can be found here


The management of long-distance trails was investigated through a review of global case studies including the Munda Biddi Trail (Australia), Nga Haerenga Cycle Trail (New Zealand), Arizona Trail and Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail (USA), West Highland Way (UK), Lechweg (Germany/Austria), E-Paths (Europe), Rim of Africa Trail (SA), and Jeju Olle Trail (South Korea). Through comparative analysis, the trail management components were identified as: funding, volunteering, governance, partnerships, conservation, infrastructure, and tourism. These components were then analyzed within the context of political, social and environmental settings. The findings indicate that the most financially sustainable model is the community approach, which involves a partnership between government and a not-for-profit organization. It extends the income stream options and reduces overhead through the use of volunteers for maintenance. Tourism strategies, such as marketing, promotion, and product and destination development, further extend the trail's financial sustainability by maximizing user numbers and partnering with businesses. This also increases regional economic benefits and improves the user experience.