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Owning Land

The Importance of a Good Road and Trail System

November 17, 2023

Landowners often ask what they can do to improve the value and potential of their property. While there are many answers to those questions, often one of the most important things a landowner can do is to establish and maintain a good navigable road and trail system throughout their property. 

Benefits for Landowners

Simply put, the more land you can access, the more land you can use to maximize the potential of your property.

For hunters, these trail systems will allow easy access to stands and feeders and act as built-in shooting lanes. This will also increase the number of stands a property can support by creating multiple access points to each stand. For recreational landowners, trails provide enjoyable access around the property, perfect for hiking, biking, or riding ATVs.

When looking to sell the property, this road system will allow a Land Professional to showcase every part of the property from the comfort of a truck or side by side. This gives potential buyers the most enjoyable showing experience possible and increases the chances that one of them decides to purchase. A good trail system can also make a property feel much larger than those without trails because a landowner can see and access all features of the property.

How to Build and Maintain a Trail System

The first step in building a trail system is mapping it out. It’s important to map out a trail that allows access to all desired points of interest on a property. These points of interest may vary based on the intended use for the property, but could include things like hunting stands, fishing ponds, bunkhouses, water access points, and more! A great view could even be enough for a landowner to want a trail put in place. 

Once a trail system map has been established, the next step is to walk the proposed trail and mark trees and brush that will need to be cleared. When planning a potential trail site, it’s generally best to take the path of least resistance; it’s typically easier to go around most obstacles rather than trying to move massive rocks or trees that could be in the way. Another great way to make this process easier is to make use of old existing trails, since building on top of pre-existing trails can save lots of time, labor, and money.  

After the trail is marked, it’s time to think about the kind of equipment necessary to clear out all of the trees, undergrowth, and other obstacles that are on your prospective trail. The kind of equipment required to clear a trail is mostly dependent on the scale of the project as well as the landowner’s preferences. Small trails could be cleared by hand using a small chainsaw and a weedwhacker, but this would demand time and effort from the landowner. 

For larger projects, a land-clearing professional may be required to effectively clear the trail. Harvesting timber is another opportunity to generate some passive income while also clearing a trail, assuming the timber on the prospective trail site is merchantable. 

Once the trail system is in place, trail maintenance and general upkeep are essential. Trees and brush are constantly growing and interfering with the accessibility and functionality of the trail system. This is why regularly clearing roads and trails before they become completely overgrown is so important. Keeping up on trail maintenance will save plenty of time and money in the long run.

Adding a road or trail system to a property is one of the easiest ways for a landowner to increase the potential value of their property. If you’ve got more questions about adding a road or trail system to your property, contact your local Land Professional today!

About the Author
Anders Land is a Certified Land Specialist that grew up in the small town of Manning, South Carolina. He found his love for hunting and fishing at a young age and spent a large part of his childhood in the outdoors with his father and grandfather. After graduating from Manning High School, Anders attended the University of South Carolina where he graduated with degrees in Real Estate and Management. His education in real estate as well as his passion for the outdoors led him to the great state of Texas to peruse a career in Farm and Ranch Land Sales. After working in Texas for 2 years, Anders moved back to South Carolina and joined National Land Realty to continue his career in land sales in the place he calls home.