[Tagging] Help explain the difference between path and track

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Thu Jun 11 00:21:12 UTC 2020

I agree that in countries with large areas of lightly-developed land, like
Australia, Canada, USA, there may be highway=track features which were
never used for agriculture or forestry, but were originally designed for
4x4 or off-road recreational vehicles. These might be called "jeep tracks"
or "4x4 trails" or similar. In the USA they will almost always be found on
publicly-owned land which is only lightly protected, or designated for
recreational use. In contrast to highway=footway or highway=path features,
these recreational highway=track features are always wide enough for
2-tracked motor vehicles and motor vehicle traffic was the primary use
case, at least originally (though in some cases the legal access may have

Many highway=track features which are now used primarily for recreation
were originally "fire roads" (used for forestry or maintenance of
rangeland) or meant to access low-intensity grazing lands, or originally
built for forestry purposes.

Note that this line was recently added to the wiki page Tag:highway=track
for clarity:

"Some highway <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:highway>=track are
used for various leisure activities - hiking, cycling, or as jeep/ATV

– Joseph Eisenberg

On Wed, Jun 10, 2020 at 4:53 PM Graeme Fitzpatrick <graemefitz1 at gmail.com>

> On Thu, 11 Jun 2020 at 05:47, Tod Fitch <tod at fitchfamily.org> wrote:
>> “Greenway” [1] was a term unknown to me too
> I only found out when I looked at the link you provided that we have
> "foreshoreways", & one most prominently mentioned is only about 2k from
> where I live!
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenway_(landscape)#Foreshoreway
> But back on topic (& you're probably all getting bored with us continually
> saying it!), but here in Oz, "tracks" are almost always unpaved (grass or
> dirt / rock surface) & they are frequently open for public recreational use
> by vehicle, not "reserved for forestry or agricultural use"
> Thanks
> Graeme
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