We Need a Trail Counter!

Mountain Bike Minto is looking for a trail user counter device so we can get get some accurate user numbers… because then we can get grant money! Does anybody know where we could borrow/rent/buy one?


I think McIntosh Run (@Lawrence) has used them in the past and/or they’ve extrapolated from Trailforks usage data.

I actually talked to @Lawrence one day about a transponder (like a Macpass) that we could attach to our bikes so that when you pass a checkpoint it debits your account for a small predetermined amount. Easy way to raise some cash and likely very little push-back from the riders. Kind of a user pay system. Perhaps a 50 cent fee at every trail head (Clark Kent, Osprey, Norawarren etc) so that a ride costs you $1. If $50 was collected every day that would amount to over $18000 in a year.

Am I crazy?


Would love to help, but MRWA hasn’t used a trail counter yet.

For McIntosh Run, MRWA volunteers and crew have been counting passes by trail users when we work on open trails. We’ve been doing this on and off for several years. These physical counts are then compared to Trailforks checkins during the same time window, to estimate the multiplier that converts TF → realworld use.

The multiplier varies between trails (which is interesting in it’s own right). There are several other complications which I’m working to sort out now that we have several years of data, collected across many different trails.

ALso worth pointing out that automatically triggered trail cameras are now cheap. MRWA hasn’t employed these, but has thought about it. There may be privacy concerns.


I think a trailhead retina scanner would be sweet. Lighter and you can’t forget eyeballs. :laughing:

It’s an interesting idea.

@DoctorSean : If you folks don’t find a counter to borrow and so consider buying one, please send me a message or email MRWA. Maybe MBH and MRWA can go in on a package deal, or share a counter! Something to consider. Last time I checked, the commercial counters were surprisingly expensive.

Good project for the engineering department lawrence :thinking:

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