Best Management Practice Category: Planning


The water trail managers maintain a water trail plan that describes a vision, desired future conditions, and strategies to strengthen best management practices.

Water Trail Planning 101

A brief document to help groups plan, inventory, access, implement, promote, operate, and maintain water trails.

Developing Water Trails in Iowa

Practical guidelines and templates for planning, site design, signage, and construction in the state of Iowa. A useful reference for how to plan for water trails on a statewide level.


A two-page summary of key questions and examples when addressing the Planning Best Management Practices.

Trail Plans

Plans for developing specific water trails.

Seneca River WT Master Plan

2008 master plan for the Seneca River Water Trail.

Rock River WT Inventory, Analysis, and Plan

This 2012 plan deals with the establishment of the Rock River Water Trail. The vision, structure and organization of the water trail are described in this inventory, analysis and plan.

Passaic River Canoe & Kayak Trail Action Plan

This undated plan contains specific launch site evaluations and recommendations for the trail. 


Huron River Water Trail Vision & Opportunity Plan

2009 plan which seeks to document current conditions along the water trail and identify any potential obstacles or opportunities for enhancement.

Vermillion Water Trail Plan

2005 plan for the Vermillion River Water Trail with beautiful graphics, maps, and photos showing analyses of current conditions and possible access locations along the river.

Delaware River Concept Plan & Recommendations

2006 Delaware River Water Trail Concept Plan and Implementation Recommendations

Jordan River Water Trail Master Plan

An undated water Trail Plan for the Jordan River Water Trail

Sandy River WT Concept Plan & Site Inventory

2009 Sandy River Water Trail Concept Plan and Site Inventory.

Goliad Canoe Phased Development Plan

2006 Phased Development Plan for paddle trail development along the San Antonio River in Goliad County, Texas.

Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT

2011 final comprehensive management plan and environmental assessment for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

Wildlife, Greenways, Open Space Plans

Bronx River Watershed Management Plan

The Bronx River Watershed Coalition developed a comprehensive watershed management plan which lays out a strategy for limiting the amount of pollution entering the river and its tributaries via stormwater runoff.

Ecological Restoration & Management Plan

In 2005, the Bronx River Alliance published the Bronx River Ecological Restoration and Management Plan and the Bronx River Greenway Plan, companion documents laying out a vision for a restored river and a continuous Bronx River Greenway in the lower Bronx River.

State, County, Local Plans

St. Clair County Master Recreation Plan

A portion of the St. Clair County Master Recreation Plan mentions a goal of creating a connected network of water trails.

Minnesota Canoe and Kayak Study

To gain a better understanding of canoeing and kayaking in Minnesota, the DNR conducted this study.

Northeastern Watersheds Management Plan

This Watershed Management Plan describes the status and conditions of the Northeastern Watersheds, sets appropriate goals and objectives, and describes specific actions that will be used to protect, restore, and enhance the unique and valuable natural and fisheries resources in the watersheds.

North Carolina Paddle Tourism Study

The North Carolina State Trails program conducted the Paddle Tourism study as part of an ongoing effort to enhance and encourage paddling experiences in North Carolina.

North Kitsap String of Pearls Trail Plan

This plan envisions North Kitsap communities connected through multi-use land and water trails to each other and to parks, local businesses, schools, ferries, buses, open spaces, forest lands, and wildlife habitats.

Oregon Water Traills State Plan

Oregon Water Trails State Plan

Developing Water Trails in Pennsylvania

Developing Water Trails in Pennsylvania.

Maintenance & Infrastructure

Planning specifically addressing maintenance and infrastructure needs.

Sign Plan

A sign plan created by the Delaware River Water Trail

Inventory & Analysis of Access Sites

Inventory & analysis of access sites in support of a Lake Michigan Water Trail.

Arkansas River Water Trail Signage Plan

A signage plan developed for the Arkansas River.

Economic Studies

Studies on the economic impact of water trails.

Economic Impact Studies

For a list of economic impact studies, please see the Community Support section of the NWTS toolbox.