In the AINL, as in most national park spaces, the social trails take many forms.
This materialized trace of separate individuals moving through the AINL at different times makes the push and pull between strategies and tactics manifest on the landscape itself.
The words and images surrounding the standard trailhead in the AINL, for instance, are designed to promote both visitor and environment wellbeing, but they are heavily prescriptive, with directions and rules and regulations posted at every corner.
That is, while they may appear to buck authority and challenge the system of NPS order, the vast majority of AINL social trails merely hug the official trail, never diverging more than a few dozen yards and, then, often only doing so to allow the walker to 1) avoid a temporary hazard in the existing official trail, like a fallen tree; 2) avoid disturbing some biophysical aspect of the official trail, like wildlife grazing alongside the path; or 3) access a particularly notable promontory or viewing location, almost exclusively along the bluffs and shorelines facing the expanse of Lake Superior.
Hundreds of social trails in the AINL point toward the shoreline, where the tree cover thins and affords trail walkers a greater vista view.