March 2014

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Overview

The DCR Roads and Trails data comprise two data layers, one that consists of lines (road and trail networks) and one that consists of points (road and trail point features). The data intend to show all roads and trails on or coming onto DCR Division of State Parks and Recreation properties and were current as of the date that they were inventoried. The former DCR Urban Parks properties are being mapped separately; at this time only the Middlesex Fells Reservation and Blue Hills Reservation are included. Additional former Urban parks will be added as they are mapped.

The project was completed over the last eight years, covering the time span from 2005 to 2013, generally working from west to east. Each dataset contains a date field that records when each road and trail segment and point feature was collected in the field. The data were collected using GPS units capable of providing at least 2-meter accuracy with differential correction. More than 4,000 miles of trails were mapped for this dataset (this represents roads and trails that were determined to be “legal” or “official” by an extensive DCR staff review; additionally, another 300 miles of roads and trails were determined to be “illegal” or “unofficial” and are not included in this dataset). Approximately 21,000 point features were mapped for this dataset (an additional 44,000 points were also mapped but were not included in this dataset as DCR omitted several point types as well as point features along illegal trails).

Work was done with a combination of contractors and DCR staff. Each person was given a set of data collection templates so that all the field collected data would use the same data format. For the road and trail line data, there were five types of features collected, each with seven categories of attributes that were added in the field (described in detail below in the “Attributes” section). For the road and trail point data, there were 34 types of features collected and a robust assortment of attributes that were added in the field (depending upon the type; these are also described in detail below in the “Attributes” section). Some of the less useful attribute information that was collected in the field was omitted from the released data.

Some of the data collected were on public land owned by other government agencies and some were on private land. Proper permission to access some of these roads and trails on private land is advisable and any private property or posted signs should be respected.

These data are stored in two feature classes: DCR_ROADS_TRAILS_ARC and DCR_ROADS_TRAILS_PT.

 

Production

Pre-production work to decide on the categories of line and point data to be collected in the field, shapefile templates and data collection pulldown forms for use with GPS units and ArcPad were created by the DCR Boston GIS staff (Nathanael Lloyd and David Kimball) in consultation with former State Forester James DiMaio and staff from the DCR Management Forestry program. A “Request for Proposals” was issued in 2006 for consultants to begin field data collection.

Consultant money was available for the first four years of the project. Contractors were:

  • New England Forestry Consultants - Northern Berkshire District, part of Midstate District
  • REWC Land Management - Central Berkshire District
  • The Kenerson Group - Southern Berkshire District, part of Midstate District
  • Land Stewardship - Western Connecticut Valley District, Eastern Connecticut Valley District, Northeast District, Southeast District

DCR Management Forestry staff who worked on the project were:

  • Amanda Lewis, DCR seasonal staff and independent contractor
  • Alicia Johnson, DCR seasonal staff and independent contractor
  • Bradford Wykoff, DCR seasonal staff
  • Danelle Laflower, DCR seasonal staff
  • David Goodwin, Assistant State Lands Manager, Project Manager

The process to complete the project was as follows:

  1. Assemble all existing digital road and trail data by DCR property
  2. Consult with DCR Forestry and facility staff to identify additional missing road and trail data
  3. Field data collection on high accuracy GPS units of all roads and trails with new line and point shapefile templates
  4. Download and transfer data to DCR Project Manager for post-processing and GIS edits
  5. Additional field work by DCR Management Forestry staff to resolve questions and capture missing data
  6. Meet with DCR field staff and additional Management Forestry staff to review data and make decisions about legal vs. illegal trails
  7. Additional field work by DCR Management Forestry staff to resolve questions and capture missing data
  8. Final post-processing and GIS edits by DCR Management Forestry staff
  9. Final data preparation for data release to the public

MassGIS provided additional quality assurance on these layers.

 

Attributes

Road and Trail Lines

This feature class (DCR_ROADS_TRAILS_ARC) has attributes that describe the road and trail sections. A section is a part of a road or trail that runs between two intersection points. If a section of road or trail changes significantly (for instance, if it widens from 0’-3’ to 5’-10’, or it changes from gravel to dirt, or the condition deteriorates significantly) the section was recorded as two separate lines with different attributes. Minor changes or variations in the road or trail were ignored (e.g., the entire segment might have been averaged).

A future release of this data will include additional attribute fields, including allowed uses and names of trail loops. Fields in this feature class include:

TYPE: Trail, Forest Road/Trail, Administrative Road, Public Road, Other; describes the type of road or trail segment as follows:

Trail - A trail that was not specifically designed for vehicle access and includes trails for hiking, mountain bikes (where permitted), cross country skiing, horseback riding and other non-motorized uses. Trails wide enough to be used by a 4WD vehicle are classified as “Forest Road/Trail”.

Forest Road/Trail - A road or trail that was designed for vehicle access but may be used primarily for recreation or forestry purposes, including hiking and ORV use (where permitted). These roads may or may not be open to public use for vehicles and may be of different surfaces including natural surfaces and of various conditions. These would include fire roads, logging roads, and historic cart paths. Vehicles can use them where permitted but they are generally unsuitable for conventional 2WD highway vehicles.

Administrative Road - Roads designed and or designated specifically for DCR use. These can be various road surfaces and conditions. These roads are generally not open for legal public use and are often restricted with gates. This would include roads for access to dams, buildings, recreation areas, utilities, dumpsters, and supply buildings.

Public Road - Roads designed and/or designated for public use. These include state, county (former) and town roads. These may be of various conditions and surfaces. These roads are generally open to the public to drive on. This is not intended to be a designation of the legal use of the road, more a designation of the practical use of the road. This classification is used to apply to any road within a DCR property that the public can drive on with a 2WD vehicle.

Other - Any other road or trail line feature not included in any of the above categories. This might include powerlines, utility rights-of-way, private roads and driveways.

SURFACE: Natural, Asphalt, Concrete, Processed Gravel, Bank Run Gravel, Vegetated, Stone and Oil, Packed Stone Dust, Pavers, Wood, Plastic, Other; describes the predominant surface of the road or trail section

WIDTH: 0' - 3', 3' - 5', 5' - 10', 10' - 15', 15' - 20', 20' +; describes the minimum width of the section of road or trail. Slight variations were acceptable but if the road or trail changed width significantly at some point, a new line was started with current width attributes.

CONDITION: Good, Fair, Poor; describes the condition of the road or trail. This is to flag road and trail segments for maintenance. A hiking trail can be quite rugged yet still be in good condition if it does not seem to require maintenance. So the condition indicates the road or trail’s fitness for its intended use.

TRAIL_MARK: None, Good, Fair, Poor; describes the quality/existence of trail marking (blazes or signs indicating the course of the trail, so that the user knows they have not wandered off the trail). None = no trail markers; Good = clear trail markers all along the segment; Fair = trail markers along only part of the segment or some markers are hard to see; Poor = trail markers are misleading or in need of re-blazing.

ILLEGAL: (Yes/No); describes if the road or trail has been designated illegal or unofficial, it will be coded as “Y” (which means yes, the road or trail is illegal). Conversely, if the road or trail has been designated legal or official, it will be coded as “N” (which means no, the road or trail is not illegal).This public data release only includes trails coded as “N” (No, the road or trail is not illegal).

COMMENTS: (text); a comment if there is anything unusual about the line or anything that needs to be explained more clearly than is possible with the standard attributes.

GPS_DATE: (text); holds the date the feature was recorded by GPS in the field.

GPS_TIME: (text); holds the time the feature was recorded by GPS in the field.

MILES: length of section in miles.

NAME: (text); name of road or trail, if named.

METERS: length of section in meters.
 

Road and Trail Points

This feature class (DCR_ROADS_TRAILS_PT) contains many different types of points related to assets along the roads and trails. Most of the fields will be blank; only a few will be filled in, depending on the type of point (most of the fields are associated exclusively with one type).

Several point types that were collected in the field have been omitted from this dataset, generally because they are not useful to the end user. Future releases of this datalayer may contain different point types. Some point types may be moved into separate datalayers and some that were omitted from this release may be added back in as the data are improved.

Most of the point types should not be assumed to contain a complete record of park infrastructure. Certain types, such as Parking Areas, Gates, Buildings, Shelters, and Picnic Areas, are in the process of being converted to authoritative agency datalayers and will eventually be moved out of this datalayer. They are included here because they may be useful to users of the data in this form.

Fields in this feature class include:

TYPE: Types are listed below (in bold), followed by a list of their corresponding attribute fields (bold and capitalized) and acceptable values (separated by commas) and a brief description (in italics, after the semicolon) of the attribute field.

Trailhead – [the access point for a trail/road – usually near a parking lot or public road]

NUM: the number of trails (not roads) that start at this point

Dead End – [no additional fields]

Parking Area

PRKNGCAPAC: (integer); the number of cars intended to fit in this parking area
PRKNGSURF: Paved asphalt, Processed gravel, Bank run gravel, Natural surface, Other; primary surface material of the parking area
PRKNGCOND: Good, Fair, Poor; overall condition of the parking area
PRKNGESIZE: (text); approximate size in feet (Length x Width)

Gate – [any structure that is used to block vehicular access to the road or trail system—see list of gate types below]

GATE_EFFEC: (True/False); does gate effectively block motorized vehicles?
GATE_OWNER: DCR, Other state agency, Municipal, Federal, Private, Non-profit, Other; the group or entity that has control over the gate
GATE_NUM: (text); the gate number (if gate has a number on it)
GATE_TYPE: Steel channel (HD square pipe), Steel pipe (normal round pipe), Farm gate, Wire or cable, Treated timber, Untreated timber, Log, Gravel pile, Rip rap large rock in pile, Posts, Jersey barrier, Other; the type of gate
GATE_POSTS: Wood post, Treated post, Steel post, Well casing or heavy pipe, Other; the type of gate posts
GATE_RFLCT: (True/False); is there red reflective tape in good condition on the gate?
GATE_CONFG: Single lane, Two lanes with no center post, Two lanes with center post; the configuration of the gate
GATE_COND: Good, Fair, Poor; the condition of the gate. Good = like new materials and treatment OK; Fair = has rust, deterioration or damage, but is repairable; Poor = failed, not economical to repair
GATE_HEIGH: (number); gate height to nearest ½ foot
GATE_WIDTH: (integer); gate width to nearest foot

Road Bridge

RBRIDOWNER: DCR, Other state agency, Municipal, Federal, Private, Non-profit, Other; the group or entity that has control over the bridge
RBRIDSPAN: (integer); the actual distance the bridge is suspended to the nearest foot
RBRIDDMATE: Untreated wood w/running plank, Untreated wood no running plank, Treated wood w/running plank, Treated wood no running plank, Glulam, Steel plate, Expanded steel, Concrete, Stone, Other; the primary material of which the bridge’s deck is made
RBRIDDWIDT: (integer); the width of the bridge’s deck that can be driven on, to the nearest inch
RBRIDDLENG: (integer); the length of the top or driving surface of the bridge’s deck, to the nearest foot
RBRIDDCOND: Good, Fair Poor; the condition of the bridge’s deck. Good = [Wood: weathered, no stain, moss, soil, or insects. Concrete: no spalling or cracks. Steel: bright or paint, no rust.]; Fair = [Wood: some stain, moss or soil present, minor incipient decay and/or insects present. Concrete: minor spalling or cracks. Steel: minor rust, fasteners tight.]; Poor = [All: voids or missing parts. Wood: advanced decay and/or insects present. Concrete: major spalling or cracks. Steel: major rust, fasteners loose.]
RBRIDOWIDT: (integer); width of opening (distance to nearest foot of opening between abutments under bridge)
RBRIDOHEIG: (integer); height of opening (distance to nearest foot of opening from stream bottom to lowest point on bridge)
RBRIDSMATE: Steel, Sawn treated wood, Sawn untreated wood, Roundwood treated, Roundwood untreated, Glulam, Concrete, Other; stringer material
RBRIDSCOND: Good, Fair, Poor; stringer condition. Good = [Wood: weathered, no stain, moss, soil, or insects. Concrete: no spalling or cracks. Steel: bright or paint, no rust.]; Fair = [Wood: some stain, moss or soil present, minor incipient decay and/or insects present. Concrete: minor spalling or cracks. Steel: minor rust, fasteners tight.]; Poor = [All: voids or missing, rot in wood members. Wood: advanced decay and/or insects present. Concrete: major spalling or cracks. Steel: major rust, fasteners loose.]
RBRIDSNUM: (integer); number of stringers
RBRIDSSIZE: (text); stringer dimension (Height” x Width” x Length’)
RBRIDHRATI: < H-10, H-10, H-15, H-20, H-25, Failed, Unknown; “H” Rating (AASHTO-44 Rating): select form from list, if there is no documentation from an authoritative source, “Unknown” was entered
RBRIDAMATE: Quarried stone, Field stone, Rubble, Concrete, Treated wood cribbing, Untreated wood cribbing, Other/combination; primary abutment material
RBRIDACOND: Good, Fair, Poor; abutment condition. Good = no slumping; Fair = slumping and/or undercutting, load-bearing impaired; Poor = collapsed
RBRIDYEARI: (4-digit integer year); year the bridge was installed
RBRIDFCROS: (text); name of the feature crossed (Mill River, Elm Street, etc.), or if name is not determinable, type of feature crossed (stream, brook, road, etc.)

Road Ford

RFORDFCROS: (text); name of the water feature crossed (Mill River, Muddy Brook, etc.), or if name is not determinable, type of water feature crossed (stream, brook, wetland, etc.)
RFORDCOND: Good, Fair, Poor; overall condition of ford. Good = use has not had adverse effect on water quality, banks solid; Fair = useable, may damage water quality under certain conditions, banks may fail; Poor = not useable, is currently damaging water quality, banks currently eroding
RFORDBTYPE: Ledge, Stony, Mud, Gravel, Concrete pad, Log or timber, Other; bottom type of the ford

Road Sign

RSIGNTTEXT: (text); the text of the sign, or what type of sign it is if it is impossible to type in the sign text
RSIGNMATER: Steel painted, Aluminum, Plywood, Treated timber, Wood painted, Wood routed, Fiberglass, Other; the primary material of which the sign is made
RSIGNPOSTM: Treated timber, Steel post, Painted or untreated wood, Log post, Other metal post, Fiberglass post, Tree, Other; the primary material of which the sign post(s) is/are made
RSIGNCOND: Good, Fair, Poor; the condition of the sign. Good = sign and post are properly installed and visible; Fair = sign face or post is in less than desirable condition or location could be improved but the sign is still readable; Poor = either the sign or post is in need of replacement or the location is poor and should be relocated.

Trail Sign(s)/Kiosk

TSIGNCOND: Good, Fair, Poor; the physical condition (and legibility) of the sign/kiosk
TSIGNINFO: (True/False); whether there is an informational sign present
TSIGNINTRP: (True/False); whether there is an interpretive sign present
TSIGNREGUL: (True/False); whether there is a regulatory sign present
TSIGNKIOSK: (True/False); whether there is a kiosk structure present

Trail Structure/Erosion Control – [a human-made structure associated with the trail that was constructed for the purpose of erosion control or to maintain the physical integrity of the trail]

TSTRUSTYPE: Steps, Cribbing, Retaining wall, Guardrail, Drainage dip, Waterbar, Checkdam, Turnpike, Corduroy, Switchback/climbing turn, Other; type of trail structure or erosion control
TSTRUMATER: Rock, Mineral soil, Wood untreated, Wood treated, Metal, Plastic, Other; the primary material of which the structure is made
TSTRUSCOND: Good, Fair, Poor; the physical condition of the structure
TSTRUSFUNC: Good, Fair, Poor; the functional condition of the structure—how well the structure is performing its job

Trail Stream Crossing – [anywhere a trail crosses a water body]

TSTRXCTYPE: Bridge, Boardwalk, Culvert, Unimproved ford, Improved ford, Bog bridge, Other; the type of stream crossing
TSTRXMATER: Rock, Wood untreated, Wood treated, Metal, Plastic, Other; the primary material of which the stream crossing is made
TSTRXWTYPE: Stream, Wetland, Spring, Seasonal Runoff, Other; the type of water body the trail is crossing
TSTRXLENGT: (integer); the length, to the nearest foot, of the crossing
TSTRXSCOND: Good, Fair, Poor; the physical condition of the structure
TSTRXCCOND: Good, Fair, Poor; the functional condition of the crossing (how easy is it to cross?)

Trail Meets Utility Right-Of-Way

TUTIXUTYPE: Gas, Electric, Phone, Other; type of utility line
TUTIXCONFG: Above ground, Below ground; configuration of the utility line
TUTIXIMPCT: (True/False); does the trail crossing negatively impact the utility line?

Trail Crosses Stone Wall – [no additional fields]

Trail Crosses DCR Boundary

TBNDXSPDCR: (True/False); is there a DCR property sign at this boundary crossing?
TBNDXSPPRI: (True/False); is there a private-property sign at this boundary crossing?

Building – [no additional fields]

Shelter – [no additional fields]

Picnic Table/Area

PICNINUM: (integer); the number of picnic tables in this picnic area
PICNIMATER: Wood, Plastic, Metal, Stone, Concrete, Other; the primary material of which the picnic table is made

Bench(es)

BENCHNUM: (integer); the number of benches in this immediate area
BENCHMATER: Wood, Plastic, Metal, Stone, Concrete, Other; the primary material of which the bench is made

Vista – [no additional fields]

Recreational Site – [no additional fields]

Noteworthy Natural Feature – [no additional fields]

 

The following fields are available for all point feature types:

COMMENTS: (text); any additional information added in the field to describe anything unusual about the point or anything that needs to be explained more clearly than is possible with the standard attributes

GPS_DATE: (text); holds the date the feature was recorded by GPS in the field

GPS_TIME: (text); holds the time the feature was recorded by GPS in the field
 

Maintenance

These data layers will be revised over time as detailed above. Major changes may include the addition of new fields to both data layers and the addition and/or removal of some point types. Data for parks in the former DCR Urban Parks area will be added as fieldwork progresses. General updates will occur as (authorized) trails are modified on the ground and as corrections are brought to DCR's attention.

DCR Management Forestry will maintain this datalayer. Any updates or corrections should be sent to David Goodwin at David.Goodwin@state.ma.us. He can be reached at (413) 545-3589.


Last Updated 4/7/2014