Apply for Designation

Become Part of the National Water Trails System

Do you manage a water trail that deserves national recognition? If you would like your water trail to be considered for designation as a national water trail, the first step is to create an application account. An application account allows a water trail manager to apply for designation within the National Water Trails System. Within this account, an application can be filled out, supporting materials uploaded, and final information submitted for review. The account should be created by the primary contact person or manager for the water trail. If you are not ready to create an account, but would like to understand what information is needed to apply for designation, application instructions can be found below.

Water trail managers around the country all play an integral role in the success of the National Water Trails System. You, too, can contribute by proposing a water trail for designation. Applications for designation should be submitted by November 1 each year; edits can be completed on a continual basis. Applications are reviewed by a team of water trail specialists and agency representatives. Successful applications demonstrate the implementation of best management practices. The recommended trail nominations are forwarded to the Secretary of the Interior for review and designation.

Not sure if your water trail is a good candidate, or you want to know more about how the process works? Follow these links for more details.

Create your Application Account

Use this link to create a new application account (this link will redirect to our NWTS partner page). This account will allow you to upload files related to your application and submit the final application.

Log in to your Application Account

If you are a returning user and have already create your account, use the link above to log in and continue working on your application (this link will redirect to our NWTS partner page).

Who Can Apply?

This application process is for water trails within federal, state, local, or private lands (except those on or in cooperation with National Forest Service lands). If your water trail is on US National Forest Service lands you should contact the US Forest Service National Recreation Trails Program.

National Water Trails System Application Instructions