River Access Planning Guide: A Decision-Making Framework for Enhancing River Access

The River Access Planning Guide (right click to open) is an online and downloadable resource for planning river access. The step by step process guides planning for river access with recreation users in mind. This guide can assist the challenging task of providing for a variety of uses while protecting natural resources in rivers and other waterways. The guide’s approach provides a framework for meeting the needs of people seeking to enjoy river recreation on, off, and in the water.

The Guide intends to serve as a resource to agencies, planners, river managers, and private entities responsible for providing waterway access as they approach site selection and design to establish new river access or improve existing access. The thoughtful planning and design supported by the planning guide will benefit the public. River users will also benefit from an enhanced recreation experience shaped by mindful planning and design.

The River Access Planning Guide represents a partnership between the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, United States Forest Service, American Whitewater, and the River Management Society whose working group engaged in a collaborative dialogue about river access topics and contributed to its development, refinement and production.

Cover image shows colorful river rafts lined up along an expansive southwestern river shoreline, with the title "River Access Planning Guide: A decision-making framework for enhancing river access."
Access points along rivers, like the Rome Access on the Owyhee River in Oregon pictured above, serve as gateways to river recreation. Photo Credit: Thomas O’Keefe.

Last updated: December 5, 2022