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Water Trails Management

Rivers are trails. They invite a visitor to put in and travel a distance to a destination or simply float to another landing upstream or downstream.

Water trails, acknowledged water-based routes promoted as designated recreational segments were first promoted as a concept in the 1960s, and Minnesota kicked off a formal acknowledgement of the water trails movement.  As water trails directors, planners, volunteers, funders and suppliers you can do your job best when you know where to look for resources, and RMS would like to be one of those resources!

These videos help explain our passion for providing resources for current and future water trails and river managers:

Paddle Forward: the mississippi river

Young adults, early career professional are discovering the congruence and overlaps between pursuing a love of rivers and creating a professional path. This program of the Wild River Academy (formed as a result of a canoe trip down the length of the Mississippi River) is creating space in the lives of young adults to enjoy paddling, yes...and to discover the complexity involved in the management of our precious, mighty rivers.  Click to view the video here.

2015 National Water Trails Forum 

Learn how water trails organizations valued the networking, training and sharing they experienced at this first- ever National Water Trails Forum.  Click to view the video here.

Prepare to Launch! Guidelines For Assessing, Designing & Building Access Sites For Carry-In Watercraft

Prepare to Launch! is a resource designed to help facility and trail planners and park and recreation project leaders plan and build or update an access site tailored to the needs of canoeists, kayakers, tubers, stand-up paddlers, or small craft sailors. It guides a reader through the development process from conception to design creation, and provides a variety of launch construction options. Here's a link on this site to various options for seeing, learning and downloading the Prepare to Launch resources.

Public Access Guide for Landowners and Water Trails & River Managers

This is an easy-to-understand guide on a serious topic that often draws questions from water trails directors, managers and volunteers. It is written in plain English and offered in two formats.

Public Access Guide for Landowners and Water Trails & River Managers Report

Public Access Guide for Landowners and Water Trails & River Managers Slideshow Presentation

RMS is enthusiastically appreciative of the effort by many on this project, particularly RMS intern Jack Henderson, and both Corita Waters and Lelia Mellen, National Park Service. Additional acknowledgements are noted in the documents.

Making an Economic Case for Watertrails

In 2015, RMS conducted a review of public studies conducted to measure the economic impact of water trails. Interestingly, there were not many to be found!  There are dozens of articles written and presentations presented selling the concept of water trails, river trails, blue trails, blueways and greenways. We're not sure if these are meant to be as different as they sound: they are all waterways connected and collaboratively managed by cooperating communities, jurisdictions and local business interests.

Review the Making an Economic Argument for Watertrails report.

The video presentation summarizing the review of economic studies conducted for watertrails. The presenter is Natalie Warren, RMS intern, who presented her findings at the 2015 National Water Trails Forum.   The following documents are referenced in the summary.

Other Water Trails Resources (thank you, RMS partners!)

RMS members: Email RMS a link to your water trail guide!