• Common Sense Conservation Since 1938
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To promote the conservation, sound management, and sustainable use of Indiana's wildlife and wildlife habitat through education, advocacy, and action.

Certified Sustainable Trails


The Certified Sustainable Trails program was designed to encourage the development of trails into thriving habitat corridors that are easier to manage, offer a greater benefit to trail users, and promote the conservation of local ecosystems through enriching human interaction with the environment. By partnering with the Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF) through this program, participants will receive guidance, feedback, and access to resources which will help them build and maintain wildlife-friendly trails. To learn more about this program, please see below or read our full Certified Sustinable Trails Guide.

A trail may meet certification by completing actions in several categories:

  • Elements of a sustainable trail
  • Wildlife habitat components
  • Water conservation, retention, & recycling
  • Sustainable maintenance
  • Public benefit

Trails that complete the certification process will receive an aluminum sign acknowledging their corresponding certification level: Gold – Conservation Champion, Silver – Sustainability Advocate, Bronze – Wildlife Sponsor. They will also be recognized through press releases, articles, and social media outreach.

Overview

This program is driven by several core values and goals to create sustainable trails that benefit both the public and wildlife alike. 

  • The first goal of the Certified Sustainable Trails program is to promote the conservation, enhancement, and restoration of wildlife habitat surrounding developed trail areas.
  • The second goal of the program is to provide the four main components needed by wildlife: food, water, shelter, and a place to raise young.
  • The third goal is to preserve and enhance the natural diversity of Indiana’s habitats. This includes removing non-native and invasive species from the ecosystem and replacing them with a diverse selection of plants native to the region.
  • The final goal of this program is to create an environmentally friendly corridor that provides access for humans without compromising the activity of wildlife.

By committing to these goals, certified trail partners pledge to promote the health and well-being of local wildlife. 

Through the creation of individual plans tailored to the needs of each trail manager and adhering to the criteria set-forth for sustainable trails, IWF and trail partners will fulfill the needs of people and wildlife to have access to healthy environments. 

Partners will then set their own individualized goals and priorities depending upon which level of certification they wish to achieve. This includes creating implementation strategies and goals based upon the needs of the trail stewards, the resources available to them, and the desired level of certification. 

Those in the Sustainable Trail Certification program will actively incorporate sustainable design and quality habitat space for wildlife into their trail systems. By recognizing the impacts that trails have on local habitats and by implementing sustainable practices, partners will construct and transform trails to better serve the people that use them and the wildlife that live near them. Completion of this certification program qualifies the partner’s property as an IWF wildlife-friendly wilderness trail.

By participating in the program, oppurtunities of educational and economic value are presented to them along with recognition to the public about their efforts to be stewards of the environment. 

Current Projects

Urban Wildnerness Trail

If you are interested in pursuing certification for a trail in your area, please contact our Habitat Programs Coordinator, Aaron Stump, at stump@indianawildlife.org or 317.875.9453