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Home > The Gateways Network > Tools > Water Trail Toolbox > Planning a Water Trail > Water Trail Toolbox: Getting Started
Water Trail Toolbox: Getting Started

Here are a few tips on how to launch your water trail project:

Establish a Core Group

Form a strong core group of similarly inclined individuals and representatives of organizations who are keenly interested in establishing a water trail and will share in the workload.

Create a Vision

Develop a vision statement that describes the desired future condition of the water trail and how the group wants to proceed. Members of the core group may have have different ideas on what the trail actually should be. Reaching a consensus on a vision statement will help build a sense of ownership and commitment.

Define the Mission

Create a mission statement that defines the role of your group in reaching your vision for the water trail. This statement can help keep the group focused and introduce and explain it to others. The mission statement should be clear and concise—ideally, no more than 25 words.

Establish Partnerships

Use the vision and mission statements to establish partnerships with local governments, community organizations, state natural resource agencies, private property owners, and user groups such as paddlers' clubs and anglers. Partners should be willing to share in the responsibility for getting the actual work done.

Form an Advisory Committee

Create an advisory, or steering, committee composed of the core group and the initial key partners to generate a long-term development and management plan for the trail and if appropriate, formally establish a permanent water trail organization.


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