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Water Trail Designations

Water trails are recreational corridors between specific locations. They provide safe access to Pennsylvania’s waterways and connections to:

  • Local history
  • Ecology
  • Geology
  • Heritage
  • Wildlife

In addition, water trails offer several incredible benefits to local communities, including:

  • Encouraging tourism and providing economic benefits
  • Increasing easy access to waterways
  • Encouraging restoration and conservation

Each water trail is managed by a local partner, who is responsible for:

  • Signage and mapping
  • Access points
  • Invasive species removal
  • Conservation education
  • Other projects

The benefits for being designated as a water trail include:

  • Use of the Pennsylvania Water Trails logo
  • Map/guide on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website
  • Copy of the Water Trails Handbook
  • Participation in Technical Assistance Workshops, held at least once a year
  • Inclusion in statewide promotional efforts

How to Become a Designated Pennsylvania Water Trail

If a local organization is interested in managing a water trail, the first steps to pursuing official designation are to:

  • Learn more about the benefits and responsibilities of water trail management
  • Organize other community stakeholders and potential partners
  • Contact the Pennsylvania Water Trails Partnership for assistance

See the Pennsylvania Water Trails Handbook (PDF) for more information.

National Recognition for Pennsylvania Water Trails

Several of Pennsylvania’s water trails also are designated as National Recreation Trails.

Through this designation, these locally or regionally significant trails are part of America’s national system of trails, and are a testament to the high-quality of water recreation opportunities in Pennsylvania.

The following Pennsylvania water trails are part of the National Recreation Trails program:

  • Delaware River Water Trail -- Middle Segment
  • Juniata River Water Trail
  • Kiski-Conemaugh Water Trail
  • Ohio River Water Trail
  • Schuylkill River Water Trail
  • Susquehanna River Water Trail -- Middle and Lower Sections
  • Susquehanna River Water Trail -- North Branch
  • Susquehanna River Water Trail -- West Branch
  • Three Rivers Water Trail