training & EDUCATion

We continue to travel throughout the Province of BC and beyond, delivering trail sustainability workshops since 2011. 
In 2018, Trail Holistics launched a Level II course: Advanced Design and Construction to build upon knowledge in the Level I course.
For trail associations that seek to strategize future growth while building organizational capacity, check out our Capacity Building for Trail Associations.

To read more on past workshops, visit our MEDIA page or contact us for a complete course outline.



LEVEL I - THE FOUNDATION Our Level I course delivers an ever improving curriculum that evolves alongside current industry best practices, guidelines and standards. We provide both volunteers and professionals the foundation of skills to assess, improve and build sustainable trails to Provincial guidelines including Rec Sites Chapter 10 and Schedule F.

LEVEL II - ADVANCED DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION Land Managers, professional build crews and passionate builders will benefit from the skills taught in Advanced Design & Construction.  With an emphasis on construction, planning and design, participants learn what is expected when it comes to risk management while building world class trails through an adaptable, creative and non-formulated approach. Participants receive a 20 pg Field Guide with quick reference charts and construction schematics for a myriad of structures from bridges to TTFs.

CAPACITY BUILDING FOR TRAIL ASSOCIATIONS In today's world, volunteers are becoming ever more encumbered with a challenging workload.  This workshop dives into the Visioning process to identify goals & objectives of the association to then create a prioritized action plan that will serve as the blue print for future success. This workshop has been conducted globally and tailored for the very challenges your organization will face.


course detail

We discuss current industry standards and guidelines for trail construction and maintenance with the goal of long term, resource-effective sustainability.  Topics covered include trail assessment, realignment & repair, hazard & structure assessment, Whistler Trail Standards, gradient, climbing trails, corners and switchbacks. Building to regional factors is emphasized as participants are introduced to the concept of the Sustainability Equation.  A thorough overview of Whistler Trail Standards and IMBA guidelines is provided, identifying gaps and applying up to date industry best management practices. Once participants become conversant with the baseline foundational concepts, the emphasis is on an adaptable and innovative approach to create memorable trails.

Applicable to all non motorized trail users including MTB, hiking, interpretive, multi use & equestrian.
Maximum participants: 20

Participants receive the following:
1) Builder Annual Schedule of Duties 2) Table of Classification Guidelines 3) Safety Briefing 4) Trail Day Actions

Course includes half day theory and half day field session to assess trails and prescribe solutions with the option to include an extra day in the field for practical training. Contact us for a detailed curriculum outline:

“The whole day really made me think more about the whole process of building trail and the bigger picture. I honestly can’t think of any way to make the class better, it was super engaging.”
– Nick Yerger

This course builds upon LEVEL I to encourage creativity within sound risk management strategies when planning, designing and constructing new trails & new trail networks. In LEVEL II, we introduce participants to invaluable industry resources for plotting and terrain assessment.  The course provides an overview of network design principles to create dynamic networks that provide diversity, progression and challenge. We cover regulatory requirements for signage and design as governed by BC Provincial regulations (and other relevant standards/guidelines) to ensure Duty of Care is upheld. Participants will learn the technical skills for soil and slope analysis as part of the planning process.

In Day 2, advanced wood construction techniques are the focus.  Participants are provided with hard copy illustrations for advanced joinery, TTFs, retainers and bridge construction. Schematics are included in the Field Guide for a number of TTF models and advanced features/techniques. Comprehensive TTF guidelines and professional standards are also included in quick reference tables. Government regulations and legalities are discussed including professional management strategies to minimize liability exposure and to effectively manage risk through signage, design and current regulatory requirements.

Applicable to: MTB Advanced Design & Construction.
Maximum participants: 8

Course includes a full day of site prep by the course instructor, 2 half day theory sessions and 2 half day field sessions with the option to include an extra day of advanced field work. Contact us for a detailed curriculum outline.

A 20 pg Field Guide is provided that includes charts of regulatory requirements, guidelines, standards, gradients, classifications, current Best Management Practices, summarized design principles and a series of construction schematics.

“As a past student of the Level I course, I was excited to dive deeper into the principles of professional trail development and learn more about everything from “boots on the ground” trail layout and construction techniques, to fundamental risk management considerations, to tips and tricks from veteran professional builders like Mark. Once again, I was impressed by Mark’s course. The course content is well refined, broadly applicable to community trail networks, and expertly presented. And Mark’s ability to engage and communicate with “bush-people” and “bureaucrats” alike is truly a unique gift! I highly recommend the course for all those involved in singletrack trail network planning, design and construction.”
– Kevin McPhedran, Cumberland

Volunteer Boards are increasingly burdened to effectively manage community trail networks.  This workshop utilizes a globally renowned process tailored to the non profit trail association.  Starting with the Visioning process, we anchor the workshop by first creating a Mission & Vision.  Working towards identifying goals and objectives, we are able to create an action plan that is derived from a prioritized menu to best serve the Vision.  Using a customized SWOT/TOWS analysis, we create a Strategic Planning document driven by the specific needs of the organization to support your future success.

Applicable to: All Trail Associations

field training

Field sessions provide invaluable hands-on learning opportunities for participants to become familiar with current professional building standards, management strategies and crucial safety protocols. Choose from any of the modules below or we can work with you to customize a session that includes a combination of skills.  
Maximum participants: 6

Structure Construction
Trail Alignment & Construction
Trail & Structure Assessment
Trail Restoration, Realignment & Site Restoration
Hazard Identification & Risk Mitigation


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A seasoned professional in trail planning, design & building, Mark has worked with all level of professionals throughout the province of British Columbia and beyond, including governing Land Managers, seasonal work crews, bike park construction teams, Universities, First Nations groups and many diverse stewardship groups including preservation societies, hiking & biking groups. Mark conceived and co-authored "A Community Driven Model for Sustainability" in 2012, creating long term solutions based upon the Social, Economic and Environmental needs of communities, leading to creative strategies that are cost effective, minimize maintenance & impact while mitigating risk and building healthy communities.  

Mark led efforts on Vancouver's North Shore since 2009 to restore over 70kms of severely degraded trail through his creation and management of the highly successful Trail Adoption Plan (TAP) and the original North Shore Arc'teryx Trail Builder Academy. He has managed, trained and led teams of professional and volunteer builders on a number of critical trail rehabilitation projects and new construction.

.Working with Forest Management students at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)  in 2015, Mark collaborated to develop best practices for site restoration and ecological revitalization. He continues his work to create effective resource management strategies including evolving assessment protocols. Most recently, Mark worked with Tara Llanes to create barrier free aMTB Guidelines.  In 2018, Mark created a series of construction schematics for advanced TTFs contained within a field guide for Advanced MTB Construction & Design principles available for participants in the Level 2 course.  Mark is a certified professional in Danger Tree Assessment and Chainsaw Safety, including employee and volunteer safety management.

Continually refining the principles of the Trail Triage system, his work continues to advance management strategies in the outdoor resource sector with an emphasis on Risk Management. Creator of the Sustainability Equation concept, his work pursues a comprehensive and relevant perspective to create long term, balanced strategies.