Planning and developing a water trail requires maintaining a careful balance between protecting the resource and responding to the needs of landowners, trail users, and the community. You have established a steering committee or formal organization, talked with the stakeholders, established partnerships, recruited volunteers, and started raising funds. Now it is time to study the evidence and make some thoughtful choices about the character of the trail.
Conduct Suitability and Feasibility Studies
Inventory and document the natural, historical, recreational, and scenic resources in the area of the proposed water trail. Gather and study reports about water quality, sensitive environmental factors, population patterns, socioeconomic characteristics, and public services and facilities. Along with all the pertinent statistical data and research findings, include maps and photographs of major resources.
Analyze Needs of Stakeholders
Study the needs and objectives expressed by landowners, local officials, potential trail users, and other stakeholders. Involve the stakeholders in resolving their differences and other issues.