Blue Trails: Protecting Rivers, Fostering Stewardship

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1 Blue Trails: Protecting Rivers, Fostering Stewardship

2 What Are Blue Trails? Blue Trails are the water equivalent of hiking trails. They are created to facilitate recreation in and along rivers and water bodies They come in all shapes and sizes

3 More than 3 out of 4 Americans participate in active outdoor recreation each year. Paddle sports are among the fastest growing segments of the industry. More people (30 million) go fishing each year than to go Disney World (16 million), the number one vacation destination in the world.

4 Why Blue Trails? Cost Effective Enhance Local Economies Promote Healthy Living Preserve history and community Identity Reconnect People and Places Protect the Environment!!!

5 New Blue Trail projects connect to other established water trails and land-based trails. They can also create additional trail opportunities.

6 Michigan Heritage Trail, Kalamazoo, MI

7 Kickapoo River Trail, Wisconsini Within five years of developing the blue trail, communities experienced a $1.7 million increase in river based tourist revenues. After this money rippled through the economy the trail had an economic benefit of $1.75 million. 45 jobs were created. (Case Studies of Water Trail Impacts on Rural Communities, Johnson, 2002)

8 Promote Healthy Living Many communities are looking to blue trails for health h benefits. Emission i free recreation.

9 Preserve History and Community Identity Highlighting the regions cultural history is a primary focus of many blue trail projects. Brings different partners and funding sources into the project (historic societies, museums)

10 Protect the River: Waccamaw River Blue Trail A new collaborative project among American Rivers, the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER, the Pee Dee Land Trust, and the Nature Conservancy

11 Integrated Campaign Educate citizens, local governments and elected officials of Horry and Georgetown Counties about the river as a community asset Increase community involvement in the river Support land conservation

12 Getting Started: Identify a water body Some things to consider: Reasonably safe (no dangerous currents or heavy commercial traffic) Outstanding features (historical, ecological, or recreational) Relatively good access Community support Conservation goals can be accomplished through the creation of the trail

13

14 Plan a Blue Trail:Identify Potential ti Partners Local and state agencies (municipal and county governments, parks and recreation departments, planning departments) Federal agencies (Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program RTCA) Non-governmental partners (land trusts, private landowners, outfitters, schools and colleges, non-profit organizations

15 Plan a Blue Trail: Think Conservation! To have a successful blue trail you need a healthy water body. Identify short and long term goals for improving the health of the water body. Identify who needs to be involved and what needs to happen to make these goals a reality. Case studies: Rappahannock River Water Trail, Yellow Breeches Creek Water Trail, Waccamaw River Blue Trail

16 Conservation Tools Long Term Goals Protect land through conservation easements Improve zoning and buffer requirements Improve watershed planning Enforce existing water quality standards Remove dams that no longer make sense Seek protective designations (Wild and Scenic, State Scenic River)

17 Promote a Blue Trail: Get Designated State designations Federal designations

18 Have Fun!

19 Questions? Matt Rice Associate Director Southeast Region American Rivers Phone:

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