Over an 11-year period there was no net erosion from three trails in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Montana. Most individual trail segments experienced change, but deposition was slightly more common than erosion. Mean cross-sectional area decreased from 1,187 cm2 in 1978 to 1,155 cm2. Trail widening was more pronounced than trail incision. The lightly used South Fork Trail experienced more change than the more heavily used Big Creek Trail. Although these trail systems, taken as a whole, are relatively stable, deterioration does occur in certain places. One purposively located trail segment’s cross-sectional area increased from 7,991 cm2 in 1979 to 10,230 cm2 in 1989. Solutions to these localized problems generally involve either improving trail design and maintenance or relocating the trail in a more durable place.
Cole, David N. 1991. Changes on trails in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Montana, 1978-89. Res. Pap. INT-RP-450. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 5 p.