National Water Trails

National Water Trails logo

About the Program:

The National Water Trails System is a network of water trails open to the public to explore and enjoy. The system also serves as a community of water resource managers that benefit from information sharing and collaboration. National Water Trails are a sub-set of the National Recreation Trails Program. National Water Trails have been established to protect and restore America’s rivers, shorelines, and waterways; conserve natural areas along waterways; and increase access to outdoor recreation on shorelines and waterways. The Trails are a distinctive national network of exemplary water trails that are cooperatively supported and sustained.

The National Water Trails System connects Americans to the nation’s waterways and strengthens the conservation and restoration of these waterways through the mutual support and cooperation of federal, state, local, and nonprofit entities. In establishing a national system of exemplary water trails, these trails have become a catalyst for protecting and restoring the health of local waterways and surrounding lands. They are building a community that mentors and promotes the development of water trails and shares best management practices with other water trails.


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Best Management Practices

  • Community
    Community Support

    Key questions and examples of community support best management practices.

  • Conservation

    Key questions and examples of conservation best management practices.

  • Education

    Key questions and examples of education best management practices.

  • Maintenance

    Key questions and examples of maintenance best management practices.

  • Planning

    Key questions and examples of planning best management practices.

  • Public Information
    Public Information

    Key questions and examples of public information best management practices.

  • Recreation

    Key questions and examples of recreation best management practices.


Last updated: December 5, 2022