National Water Trails System Designation Criteria

The National Water Trails System online application collects information to determine the eligibility of a water trail to be designated as a National Recreation Trail - National Water Trail.

The online application has 7 sections, which ask for trail information, best management practices, contact information, owner consent and state support, a photo, map, and logo, a signature page and there is an optional section for additional supporting materials. These sections will be described in more detail below. All required documents can be found on the National Recreation Trail designation information page.

Section 1: Basic Trail Information

  • Trail Name

  • Agency

  • Trail Location

  • Mapping information

  • Latitude

  • Longitude

  • Directions to trail

  • Cities/townships

  • Counties

  • States

  • Congressional districts

  • Short and long descriptions of trail

  • Trail details

  • Length of trail open to public use

  • Other designations

  • Allowed uses

  • Description of water and surrounding area

  • Visiting and Fees

  • Open dates

  • Time of operation

  • Seasonal closures

  • Fees

  • If accessibility information is available

  • Visiting and fee notes

Section 2: Best Management Practices (this section allows documents to be uploaded)

  • Mission Statement

  • Recreation Opportunities

  • Education

  • Restoration

  • Community support

  • Public Information

  • Trail Maintenance

  • Planning

Section 3: Contact Information

  • Trail Managing Agency or Organization

  • Agency Unit

  • Trail Manager Info

  • Mailing Address

  • Designation Letter Contact information

  • Public Information Contact

Section 4: Owner Consent and State Support

  • Written consent from all public and private property owners of trail lands or waters

  • Trails that are on state, local government, or private land need a statement of support from the State Trails Administrator/Coordinator

Section 5: Photo, Map, and Logo

Asks for a photograph, trail map, and trail logo to be uploaded. These will be displayed to users online as a preview of the trail.

Section 6 (optional): Additional Supporting Materials

An opportunity to upload more photos and maps, brochures, letters or resolutions of support, and additional websites.

Section 7: Signature page

The final step requires a signature!

Last updated: June 2, 2020