Organised Editing/Activities/Trails Stewardship Initiative

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About the Trails Stewardship Initiative

The Trails Stewardship Initiative is a program led by OpenStreetMap US. Launched in 2021, the Trails Stewardship Initiative is a collaboration of government, volunteer, and private sector stakeholders working to address issues in trail mapping, outdoor recreation, and public land management. As hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts in the United States have come to rely on mobile applications to navigate our public lands, visitors can be led to dangerous or environmentally sensitive areas when these apps include unofficial and unmaintained trails. Many navigation applications amalgamate this trail data from multiple sources and rely heavily on OpenStreetMap data.

To address how applications use and visualize OpenStreetMap trail data, the Trails Stewardship Initiative brings together volunteer mappers, land managers and app developers to improve trail data in OpenStreetMap. Through these efforts, navigation apps will be able to better display OpenStreetMap trail data, improving equitable access to the outdoors and the public's ability to understand and plan for the true nature of a trail system, while protecting our sensitive ecosystems.

The primary goals of the Trails Stewardship Initiative are to:

  1. Increase SAFETY for outdoor enthusiasts on public lands
  2. Improve EQUITABLE ACCESS to trails for all citizens
  3. Promote RESPONSIBLE RECREATION out of respect for tribal and private lands and for the protection of our natural environment.

OpenStreetMap US and the Trails Working Group work closely with land managers, the OpenStreetMap community, commercial users of OpenStreetMap data for recreation, and other stakeholders in order to bridge needs, develop solutions, and advocate for responsible use of OpenStreetMap for recreation. Updates, efforts, and campaigns are announced on the talk-us mailing list, OpenStreetMap US newsletter, the OpenStreetMap US blog, the OSM US Slack, and social media channels. Regular updates are provided through all channels.

More information can be found on the program page of the OpenStreetMap US website. Further background and documentation of initial efforts can be found on the United States/Trail Access Project page.


The Trails Stewardship Initiative is led by OpenStreetMap US and the Trails Working Group. For information, please visit

For any additional information or questions, please contact


This table provides an overview of all projects under the Trails Stewardship Initiative. Each project has its own wiki page to provide further detail and mapping guidance.

Focus Area Project Dates Status Description Hashtag(s) Communication Contact
Utah Bryce Canyon National Park - Official Trail Attributes

Tasking Manager Projects: #447, #451, #452

October 2023 - Ongoing In Progress Support responsible recreation by improving trail attributes using official resources. Our target is for each trail to be updated with the following attributes (as applicable) based on official sources:
  • Name
  • Operator (i.e. National Park Service)
  • Access (i.e. no, private)
  • Allowed Use (i.e. hiking, snowmobile, dogs)
  • Informal (i.e. yes, no)

Each trail may have a different situation influencing which tags to use. Please see the mapping instructions provided to determine the correct situation for each trail.

Updated trail information #TrailsStewardshipInitiative-Utah #OSMUS #TrailsStewardshipInitiative

Plus individual task hashtags: #osmus-tasks-447 or #osmus-tasks-451 or #osmus-tasks-452||#trails on the OSM US Slack or

Trails Working Group

Data Model

Using references identified by land managers, mappers will update the following minimum attributes as appropriate. This data model was developed by the Trails Working Group, as documented on the United States/Trail Access Project page.

Attribute Data Needed for Pools
Priority Attribute OSM Tag(s) Additional info
Primary Name name=* Trail Name
Operator operator=* Name of land management (i.e. National Park Service)
Informal informal=yes Social trails, decommissioned trails, and other trails not designated by the land manager; regardless of access designation
informal=no Official trail, regardless of access
Access access=yes Open to the public
access=no Closed trail. No one is allowed
access=private Private trail. No trespassing; general public not allowed.
access=permissive Private trail. General public allowed.
access=unknown Trail access is unclear or unknown
Allowed use* foot=designated;yes;no Access restriction/designation for use by foot (hikers)
bicycle=designated;yes;no Access restriction/designation for use by bicycle
horse=designated;yes;no Access restriction/designation for use with horses
dog=yes;no;leashed Access restriction/designation for use with dogs
Secondary Reference Number ref=* Official trail reference number
Width width=* Trail width (m)
Official Website website=* Website with information about the trail, example Bristlecone Loop Trail, managed by the operator.
Wiki data operator:wikidata=* Wikidata value for operator. Ex, NPS: Q308439. USFS: Q1891156, BLM: Q1010556
Trail Visibility trail_visibility=* Classification indicating level of orienteering skills needed to follow the trail
Trail Difficulty sac_scale=* Classification indicating level of difficulty for maneuvering the trail

* Other transportation modes such as ski, snowmobile, ATV are also encouraged if known.


All projects will use the #TrailsStewardshipInitiative hashtag as well as project specific hashtags listed under each project above.


Each project will have its own unique timeframe based on project needs and scope. Large scale projects will be broken down into smaller components to encourage mapper engagement and for timely validation/data quality.

Tools and data sources

Each project will use specific tools and data sources, described on individual project pages.


This is a community project organized by OpenStreetMap US. As a result, there is not an exhaustive list of mappers.

Measuring our success

More details to be provided soon.


Detailed instructions and guidance, including links to official trail sources are included in each Tasking Manager project.

Data Quality

Each project is closely monitored for data quality by OpenStreetMap US. The OpenStreetMap US Tasking Manager is the primary tool used for activities to allow for organized community validation. In cases where other mapping tools are required, secondary review or validation methods will be described in the project page. At the completion of each project, the OpenStreetMap US project lead conducts a third-pass validation over all project data.

Data quality is critical to both OpenStreetMap and the stakeholders relying on the data. Where feasible, OpenStreetMap US will also work with relevant land managers for additional quality checks to ensure accuracy.