Natureshape logo Shaping Trails by Design
Trail Design Books Education Consulting

NSTBD cover
Our book, Natural Surface Trails by Design: The Physical and Human Design Essentials of Sustainable, Enjoyable Trails, presents the keys to a comprehensive trail development process. The series addresses the longstanding need for a simple yet profoundly powerful trail design system that anyone can use to design and develop sustainable and enjoyable natural surface trails for any trail type and use.
Natureshape LLC provides consulting services in:

Trail design
Design of trail systems, individual trails, trail structures, bridges, boardwalks, signs, interpretive features, construction management, and more for any trail type, use (hiking, horse, biking, wheelchair, ATV, motorcycle, ORV), or location. We work as closely with the client, site, and visitors as possible, focusing on maximizing the trail experience while minimizing the budget. Our design method and philosophy.

Trail evaluation
Evaluations, advice, and recommendations for existing and proposed trails.

Low-cost natural surface trail formation
We've developed effective ways to "construct" carefully designed and flagged natural surface trails largely through visitor use. Where applicable, this environmentally "green" method greatly reduces or eliminates trail excavation and construction cost, minimizes or eliminates site disturbance outside the immediate trail tread itself, increases sustainability, improves ability to maintain outslope (tread pitch), increases public awareness and stewardship by involving the public in trailbuilding, and produces a naturalistic tread no wider than necessary and suited inch-by-inch to visitors' tread requirements. After 1-3 years (or sooner for busy trails), the final trail tread is both more sustainable and more naturalistic than a constructed tread.

Custom publications
Custom guides and specifications, training programs, marketing materials, etc. Commissioned publications can range from short guides to entire books in grayscale or color. We can also provide all publication design, desktop publishing, illustration, and photo services, plus arrange for printing (see below).

Training for all skill levels
Custom indoor and/or outdoor workshops and trainings, conference presentations, crew leader training, etc. Uniquely, both novices and experienced professionals can learn from our training methods and trail development process at the same time. Our trail photo collection provides a rich source of visual examples for trainings, enabling us to maximize your time in indoor settings. We also have prepared and scheduled workshops that we can present in your location at a very reasonable cost (perfect for trail conferences and agency trainings).

Conference presentations
We can make conference presentations on a wide variety of trail-related topics. If you have something in mind, please contact us.

Working with volunteers
Years of experience working with and training volunteers in all capacities, including training volunteer crew leaders, leading volunteer crews, and managing volunteer projects. We're very good at making volunteers feel integral to the process. Volunteers are attracted to our trail development process.

Trail construction
Although we would rather design trails and/or teach you to shape them yourself, we are very good at performing and demonstrating trail construction for trainings and some small projects. Stonework (retaining walls, risers, steps, etc.) is one of our favorites. We can refer you to those who construct larger projects.

Book design
Award-winning book design including full layout, design, photo scanning and enhancement, and desktop publishing capabilities for book interiors and covers. Under the name Cimarron Design, we've been designing books for all types of publishers since 1990.

Graphic design
Brochures, signs, maps, marketing materials, ads, newsletters, etc. We favor a clean, classic approach to graphic design. (Graphic design and trail design do have a lot in common: both are about getting people to enjoy, learn from, and absorb the tone of a page/trail as they travel through it.)

Website design
Basic websites (we design and maintain this site and the Professional Trailbuilders Association website,, E-commerce and shopping cart setup.

Conference registration
Design, set up, and process conference registration using combinations of web-based shopping carts and mail-in forms, including credit card processing and preparation of online and paper conference marketing materials (programs, brochures, forms, etc.)

We can publish trail "how-to" books for any author, including editing, content guidance, book design, illustrations, photographs, layout, printing, and distribution. Like any reputable publisher, however, we will only choose to publish highly informative and useful books. If you have a trail book in mind or would like to see a book on a particular subject, we'd like to hear from you.

Trail photography
For training, education, and consulting, we maintain a growing collection of 13,000+ trail photos (slides) in over 100 categories. If you're looking for a photo of a particular trail structure or technique, chances are we have it. For digital images, we can scan slides at high-resolution in house to produce higher-quality images than handheld digital cameras. In addition, we use our photography capabilities in trail design and other projects.

For more information, please contact us.

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