Creating Blue Trails

verde river blue trail

Verde River | Arizona Office of Tourism

Blue trails are an innovative concept quickly taking hold across the country.

They are found in urban and rural areas and connect recreational and ecological assets like protected areas, wildlife refuges, parks, greenways and hiking trails. They provide communities with a host of benefits including enhancing economies, protecting and restoring the environment, and promoting healthy living and educational opportunities.

Helping Communities Create Blue Trails

American Rivers is helping communities connect to and revitalize their rivers by providing the tools to promote river recreation. Our goal is to protect and restore rivers and to foster stewardship in future generations of outdoor enthusiasts.

Blue Trails Guide

In 2008, American Rivers created the Blue Trails Guide, an expansive online guide that provides instructions for developing a thriving blue trail. It includes cutting edge case studies on planning, building, and managing for conservation and practical guidance for local and state government entities, planners, non-governmental organizations, recreational enthusiasts, and others.

Training, Outreach and Workshops on Blue Trails

To expand the reach of the Blue Trails Guide, we have developed workshops to educate community leaders on the benefits of blue trails. These workshops range from basic information to advanced workshops on how to incorporate conservation into blue trails.

Model Blue Trails

Because the best way to demonstrate the value of blue trails is to prove they work, American Rivers is leading efforts to establish model blue trails, such as the Waccamaw Blue Trail, the Wateree Blue Trail and the Verde River Blue Trail, that help meet our nation’s growing demand for recreational opportunities and connecting families and youth to natural treasures such as parks, refuges, and forests to build support for the protection of these special places.


* Outdoor Industry Foundation, The Active Outdoor Recreation Economy, Fall 2006