DCNR, Partners Sign Pennsylvania Water Trail Agreement

Monroe County, Pa. – An agreement to encourage the development and enhancement of Pennsylvania Water Trails was signed today by officials from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the National Park Service.

Pennsylvania has 21 water trails totaling more than 2,000 miles that have been mapped or are under development.

“Water trails help connect our citizens to the wonderful rivers and streams we are fortunate to have in Pennsylvania, and they draw outdoor enthusiasts to our state who spend money and support the businesses in our communities,” DCNR Secretary Michael DiBerardinis said at the 4th annual Greenways and Trails Summit in Pocono Manor.  “This partnership that includes the state and federal governments and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council will work to continue to develop the system, promote it to residents and visitors and, through the trail network, enhance citizen stewardship of local water resources.”

Water trails are boat routes suitable for canoes, kayaks and small motorized watercraft. Like conventional trails, water trails are recreational corridors between specific locations. Water trails include access points, boat launches, day use sites, and – in some cases – overnight camping areas.

“Pennsylvania leads the country in water trail development because of the strong partnership between the Fish & Boat Commission, DCNR, the National Parks Service, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and local partners.  This partnership has resulted in increased access to our waterways for anglers and boaters,” said Fish & Boat Commission Executive Director Doug Austen.

“The Pennsylvania Water Trails Partnership is an amazing partnership between state, federal and local governments, volunteers and non-profit groups. PEC is honored to serve as manager of the program,” said Davitt Woodwell, Environmental Council senior vice president.

(Help continue Pennsylvania’s leadership on water trails and clean water — vote for water conservation in DCNR’s iConserve election!)

“Pennsylvania is one of the leaders in the development of water trails nationally, and the National Park Service is pleased to be able to lend our support,” said Bob Campbell, a program manager with the National Park Service.  “Water trails are a source for recreation and recreational learning and a great way to reconnect people with our rivers and streams.”

The goals of the partnership covered by the agreement:
*       To encourage and advance the development of water trails in Pennsylvania;
*       To strengthen the connections between and among existing water trails to promote a system of water trails;
*       To better market and promote Pennsylvania’s water trails as a recreational resource to residents and visitors;
*       To provide technical assistance to local project managers who are implementing water trail projects;
*       To promote the national recognition of Pennsylvania’s water trails;
*       To provide assistance to local project managers specifically with the long-term maintenance, stewardship and sustainability of water trails; and
*       To promote the development and management of water trails as a means to enhance citizen stewardship of local water resources.

For more information on water trails, visit http://www.fish.state.pa.us/watertrails.