I hiked the Rabbity Trail in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, BC. It's a closed trail, which I later found out. There were no signs in the park. But since it's in OSM, my hiking app showed it to me. I think this is a dangerous trail. It's difficult and unmaintained.

What's OSM's policy here? Delete it? Or can I somehow mark it as dangerous/closed/difficult somehow?


Since people wanted more information about that trail, here's what I can say/found out:

  • the trail was not mentioned anywhere on the official maps posted in the park
  • it is marked "closed" in AllTrails.com
  • I did not see any signs that it was closed because we got onto it over a connecting trail and never saw the start/end of it
  • the trail was clearly unmaintained since the path was overgrown and very difficult to find

asked 27 Oct '18, 03:22

stephanos_b's gravatar image

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edited 30 Oct '18, 06:38

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aseerel4c26 ♦


What is the meaning of "closed" in this context? Particularly that there doesn't seem to be signage to the effect.

(29 Oct '18, 08:57) SimonPoole ♦

@SimonPoole I provided more information in my update

(30 Oct '18, 02:37) stephanos_b

Sounds like the same issue with "social trails" in some of the parks and forests in my area. The land managers don't want people on them for a variety of reasons (safety, resource restoration, etc.) but they are clearly visible in aerial imagery or on the ground.

My approach is to map them and then put an a access=no tag on them. Probably wouldn't hurt to put a comment or note tag with a human readable explanation.

I figure that covers the OSM desire to map what exists and yet give the land managers their due.

I don't tag things much with sac scale information as I am not as familiar with that as I should be, but if it is actually a dangerous trail there is probably a sac scale value that shows the difficulties that could be faced trying to follow it.

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answered 27 Oct '18, 05:25

n76's gravatar image

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@stf Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I'll do that.

(27 Oct '18, 17:09) stephanos_b

See also https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:sac_scale and other tags in https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Hiking

"Dangerous" is a relative term. You shouldn't use access=no unless the landowner/manager actually forbids use of the path.

(29 Oct '18, 11:32) Vincent de P... ♦

@Vincent de phily that's true. I said that because it is not maintained, I lost the path constantly and it is extremely demanding (I'm an avid hiker). My app (which uses OSM) completely misled me in this regard and I had to be rescued by 911 because it was getting dark and cold. I don't want anyone else to have to go through this.

(30 Oct '18, 02:43) stephanos_b

Sounds like the SAC scale tagging has some values that could help on that with trail visibility, etc.

(30 Oct '18, 04:26) n76

@stephanos_b: ouch, I am sorry for your awful experience.

Maybe komoot should point out to their users much better that komoot's automatically suggested routes are not tested by anyone and should be taken with care. E.g. the path your were talking about is not part of any (signed) hiking route.

(30 Oct '18, 06:27) aseerel4c26 ♦

@stephanos_b Why are you reporting this here? OSM is a database (+ one standard rendering).

Please ask your hiking app provider this question. We can't take any responsibility.

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answered 27 Oct '18, 13:50

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Well "we" (as in the OSM community) can certainly advise on how to tag a trail like this. Then, if it still shows up in a hiking app as open, it would make sense to complain to the author of that app, but not before.

(27 Oct '18, 15:03) SomeoneElse ♦

@Druzhba I did. They routed me here. They said, they rely on OSM and can do nothing about it themselves.

(27 Oct '18, 17:08) stephanos_b

@stephanos_b for info, who is "they" here?

(27 Oct '18, 18:06) SomeoneElse ♦
(27 Oct '18, 19:21) stephanos_b

If the "danger" is just that one may have issues to find the path, then possibly sac_scale=mountain_hiking or sac_scale=demanding_mountain_hiking is the right tag for sac_scale. Plus trail_visibility=bad for the trail_visibility. mtb:scale may be a good addition.

For the parts which really have no path a good option would be to actually map no path there. This will stop most router using the path, but still show the real facts to experienced people who do manual route planning.

If you do the tagging this way, the only thing left is that the map/router (in your case the app komoot) actually uses this additional data. If it does not, please ask at the maintainer of the map/router.

Tagging it with some access tag (e.g. access=no) should require really a legal restriction to enter this path: that may be explicitly (by "do not enter" signs) or implicitly (because it is not marked as official route and because local/national law forbids walking on such routes).

If the path is that much unused that it is not longer a path tagging it with abandoned:highway=path instead of highway=path is the way to go. Afterwards it likely will not be shown anymore on most maps and not being used by routers like komoot.

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answered 30 Oct '18, 06:23

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aseerel4c26 ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 30 Oct '18, 06:37

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question asked: 27 Oct '18, 03:22

question was seen: 2,027 times

last updated: 30 Oct '18, 06:38

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