Managing Trails

Keep your trails, your employees, and your organization protected

Trails are essential to conservation. They are the lifeblood that connect us to nature and allow us to indulge our desire to explore the outdoors. Perhaps most importantly, trails help us foster a deep love of nature in the next generation of conservationists.

In urban and suburban spaces, trails link communities. They are the internal arteries that help beautify communities while bringing people together with the outdoors. Trails also have become the basis for greening projects and recreational spaces, bringing sustainable development and walkable areas to neighborhoods all around the country.


In more traditional rural and wilderness settings, trails provide access to otherwise inaccessible outdoor spaces. They allow users to immerse themselves in nature through exploration of parks and open space and provide an opportunity to hike, bike, and climb in beautiful surroundings.

An extraordinary amount of time, energy, and budget goes to building, maintaining, and repairing trails on conserved lands. It is important to know the risks and to understand how the available insurance solutions vary.

Top 3 Trail Management Risk Exposures

1. Chainsaws, Wildlife, and Falling Rocks

While performing trail work, volunteers and employees risk injury—twisted ankles, cuts and bruises, lacerations or fractures, insect or animal bites, allergic reactions, and heat stroke, to name a few.


Additionally, when trails are located on property that is open for public recreational use, there is liability arising from the possibility of injury to a visitor. Such concerns are valid whether the land is owned by the non-profit or whether the organization is simply providing volunteers to maintain the trail. Adding difficult terrain, extreme weather or temperatures, or power tools to the mix only increases the risk of injury.

Insurance implications

Trail organizations must consider how insurance coverage responds depending on the party that is injured. The non-profit should also be cognizant of common exclusions in policies such as those that prohibit the use of chainsaws or that limit coverage to specific locations.

Conserve-A-Nation® solutions

  • General liability to respond to trail user injury, not limited by location, and no exclusion for chainsaws or power tools
  • Umbrella/excess liability
  • Workers’ compensation and accident coverage for employees and volunteers

2. Working with Youth Crews

Many conservation organizations invite youth crews to work on trails. Perhaps this means a volunteer opportunity for a local scout troop or youth group, or maybe early employment training for teens and young adults. An invaluable opportunity to learn new skills and discover a potential new career path is provided to those who participate.

Insurance implications

Any trail crew runs the risk of injury from outdoor manual labor. However, when working with minors, there are additional safety considerations due to the potential for sexual abuse. Coverage for abuse or molestation is often excluded or unintended for coverage under general liability policies.

Conserve-A-Nation® solutions

  • Workers’ compensation insurance for youth crew members employed by the organization
  • Volunteer accident coverage for minor accidents involving youth crew members and/or the adults accompanying them for supervision
  • Sexual abuse liability coverage may be available for non-profits following required safety protocols

3. Damage to Signs, Kiosks, and Gates

Land trusts and other trail groups may own small structures such as signs, kiosks, gates, and equipment sheds that may become damaged or destroyed by storm, wildfire, or vandalism.

Insurance implications

Conservation organizations need to be prepared for the expenses that damage to signs, kiosks, and gates can bring to their organization. They also need to be aware of the property limits on their policy.

Conserve-A-Nation® solutions

  • Conserve-A-Nation provides $50,000 property limits for components in most geographic locations for qualifying policies

More than 6.8 million people have visited the Bureau of Land Management’s National Conserved Lands for recreation.

Every day, more than 5,000 to 6,000 acres of farmland, forests, and other lands are developed in the United States.

American Forest Foundation

More than 100,000 conservation easements cover 22 million acres of land across the U.S.

Conserve-A-Nation provides up to $50,000 of coverage for these structures at no additional cost in most states.

Conserve-A-Nation provides up to $50,000 of coverage for these structures at no additional cost in most states.

Managing Trails

About Conserve-A-Nation

Founded in 1994, Alliant’s Conserve-A-Nation Insurance Program is the leading insurance solution for land trusts and other 501(c)3 conservation organizations nationwide. Conserve-A-Nation is proud to be the endorsed insurance partner of the Land Trust Alliance. We work with 1,500 local, regional, and national non-profits across the country. Our team’s sole focus lies on understanding and protecting our conservation mission. We are dedicated to understanding relevant and applicable liability protection statutes, we stay current on conservation industry trends, and we have deep experience with common risks and exposures that land trusts and other conservation non-profits face every day.