Water Trail Toolbox: How to Plan, Build, and Manage a Water Trail
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network

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Establishing a water trail seems like an obvious and natural thing to do to foster interest in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. It takes a lot of hard work, determination, and dedication to create and maintain a water trail.

To help you, the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network provides these step-by-step guidelines—the ABCs of planning, building, and managing a water trail. Each of the three sections has a brief opening page and a list of links that examine the subjects in greater detail. The additional resources include supporting background information.

About Water Trails
About Water Trails Water trails connect scenic and historical sites along a riverway, lakeshore, or bay coastline for the recreational and educational benefit of paddlers, boaters, and other water users. Find out more about what water trails are and why they're important.
Planning A Water Trail
Planning a Water Trail Turning the idea of a water trail into a reality will depend on the thoroughness of your planning. This section provides advice on getting started, developing grassroots support, and drafting a plan for building the trail.
Building A Water Trail
Building a Water Trail You have created a nonprofit organization, identified the stakeholders and partners, and drafted a development plan for the trail. Now it is time to go to work—to create access sites, develop facilities, and prepare guide materials for trail users. Learn more.
Managing A Water Trail
Managing a Water Trail After the water trail has been established, the organization will be faced with a constant challenge: balancing the needs and values of recreation and conservation. Managing and maintaining a water trail may require the skills of some individuals who helped establish the trail.

The following state programs can provide important assistance in developing your trail. They'll help with advice or assistance on resource inventories, access facility development, technical and financial assistance programs, and environmental or historic compliance issues.

Much of the information contained in this toolbox is based on materials developed and compiled by North American Water Trails, Inc., a nonprofit organization in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.


Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network - Comments or Questions: Call: 1-800-YOUR-BAY