water trail planning

What is a Water Trail?

A water trail is a waterway route (a stretch of a river, lake, or ocean shoreline) that has been mapped out, with access points identified, with an intent to create an experience for recreational paddlers. Water trails provide users with location information on legal access points to lakes, rivers, and oceans. Water trails are primarily oriented around non-motorized boating, but also serve other public recreational uses that require access to water (such as fishing, swimming, and sightseeing.

What is a Water Trail Plan?

The delineation and planning of water trails has become increasingly valuable in regions where public access to waterways is being compromised by the pressures of private development. The Commission assists communities in the planning process of creating a water trail plan which includes:

  • Inventory of existing and potential access sites
  • Integrating with other existing water/land based trails
  • Site improvements/enhancements
  • Branding and marketing
  • Funding opportunities

Recently completed plans

Manitowoc River Watershed Water Trail Plan

The Manitowoc River Watershed Water Trail is located in Manitowoc County along the Manitowoc River. It flows east from the Clarks Mills Dam to Lake Michigan in the City of Manitowoc.

Plan Document
Portal Site

Ahnapee River Water Trail Plan

The Ahnapee River Water Trail is located in northeast Wisconsin along the Ahnapee River from the Forestville Dam in the Town of Frestville (Door County), southeast to the Lake Michigan in the City of Algoma (Kewaunee County).

Plan Document
Interactive Story Map

Twin Rivers Water Trail Plan

The Twin Rivers Water Trail is comprised of the lower stretches of the West Twin River and the East Twin River in Manitowoc County. There are 14 access sites located within the stretch which runs from the Village of Mishicot down throughout the City of Two Rivers.

Plan Document
Interactive Story Map


For more information on water trail planning, please contact:
Adam Christensen, Environmental Planner
Phone: (920) 448-2820, Ext. 106
Email: achristensen@baylakerpc.org