Skip To Content

Foundations of Sustainable Trails: Tools



Full course description

Course summary:

The Foundations of Sustainable Trails: Tools course is an introductory course targeted to developing trail workers. This course serves as an introduction and overview to the foundational concepts related to safe trail use—all through the lens of developing and maintaining a sustainable trail. This course will introduce principles of trail jobsite safety, differentiate between types of tools, align commonly used tools to their uses, and identify indicators for when tools need repair or maintenance. Topics include safe tool use, categories of tools (such as brushing tools, digging and tamping tools, and power tools), tool length and materials, groups of tool users, tool repair, and much more.

Course objectives:

After completing this course, learners should be able to:

  • Explain overarching principles of trail jobsite safety through using tools as the context.
  • ​Differentiate between different categories of trail tools.
  • Match commonly used hand tools to their uses in trail construction and maintenance.
  • ​Recognize indicators for when tools may need repair or maintenance​.

Recommended background

This is an introductory course for developing trail workers. These include individuals who may have limited formal experience in construction or maintenance—but are eager to learn! We encourage all enrollees of Foundations of Sustainable Trails courses to first complete the micro-learning: Foundations of Sustainable Trails: A Trail from Start to Finish.

Course topics include:

  • Safety
  • Categories of Tools
  • Choosing the Right Tools
  • Tool Repair & Maintenance

Elements of the course:

  • Informational text
  • Engaging video
  • Interactive practice activities
  • Supplemental reference materials
  • Informal assessment quizzes
  • Final assessment

This course is self-paced, allowing learners the flexibility to complete the course as quickly or slowly as they need.

After completing all course content and activities, you will complete a final quiz to demonstrate your understanding of key course concepts. Upon successful completion of the quiz, you will be awarded a certificate of completion.

Course creators:

This course was designed and developed jointly by American Trails and the Eppley Center for Parks and Public Lands at Indiana University.

How to access:

Upon enrolling, you will receive instructions and the link to the Canvas course. Note: When you register, you will receive an email invitation. Be sure to accept that invitation, or Canvas will not allow you to open the course modules.

Enrollees can move through content modules at their own pace within the course timeframe.


Length: Self-paced


Eppley Center for Parks and Public Lands


Credit: CE credits available for purchase


Audience: Developing trail workers, including those who may have limited formal experience in construction or maintenance

Sign up for this course today!