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American Trails is proud to present "Water Trail Accessibility" as a part of the American Trails "Advancing Trails Webinar Series."


arrow If you are interested in “attending” an archived version of the webinar, purchase the session via the American Trails Online Store


WEBINAR: Water Trail Accessibility -
Assessing and Creating More Accessible Facilities and Programs





Water Trail Accessibility Resources (pdf 49 kb)

Steps to Developing Nondiscriminatory Essential Eligibility Criteria (pdf 61 kb)

Canoeing and Kayaking for People With Disabilities by Janet Zeller

Why water trails are better than land trails: by a kayaker with a disability (Mike Passo)

See more resources on accessible trails, ADA requirements, and current news...



American Rivers Blue Trails Guide

Florida State Designated Paddling Trails

Guidelines for Developing Non-Motorized Boat Launches in Florida (prepared by FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission)

National Water Trails System

Water Trails/Blueways: National Park Service Partnerships and Resources



Water Trail Accessibility and Assessment Workshop (pdf 180 kb) from American Trails is available for local sponsors to host in your area

Accessible paddling workshop: set the stage for water trails, by Mike Passo

American Canoe Association Adaptive Paddling workshops

See the National Trails Training Partnership calendar for currently scheduled training opportunities...



Prepare to Launch! Guidelines for Assessing, Designing, and Building Access Sites for Carry-In Watercraft

Water Trail Site Assessment Tool (pdf 61 kb)

Florida Guidelines for Paddling Trail Development

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network: Water Trail Toolbox

Iowa DNR Water Trails Toolkit

Minnesota DNR Water Trails Program

Logical Lasting Launches: Design Guidance for Canoe and Kayak Launches (pdf 7.1 mb)

AccuDock, Kay-aKcess kayak dock system

E-Z Dock, canoe/kayak dock launch system

See more resources, studies, articles, and links to trail projects on our Water Trails Index page...


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Getting people in the boat is the challenge for accessible water trails


Webinar Presenters (see their bios below):

This new course is designed to help water trail managers and outfitters improve opportunities for people of all backgrounds and abilities to enjoy water trails.

The webinar includes a 75 minute review of adaptive program principles, principles of assessing existing water trails to provide critical information to all users, how to create water trails out of urban streams, and real life examples and case studies of water trail challenges.

Join us for discussions and case studies, and take away valuable tips and techniques for creating new oppportunities for paddling and water trails for people of all abilities and skill levels.

Presenters for the Webinar: “Water Trail Accessibility - Assessing and Creating More Accessible Facilities and Programs”

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Mike Passo is the owner and operator of Elakah Expeditions LLC. Since 1991, Mike has led groups of all backgrounds on sea kayak expeditions in the San Juan Islands of Washington, Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Lake Superior, and Glacier Bay Alaska. Mike has been the project director for all of Wilderness Inquiry’s trails and facilities assessment and Universal Design training projects— a program known as Access Outdoors.

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Roller launch for kayaks and canoes

He has conducted an extensive study of outdoor developed areas nationwide to determine the cost implications of construction according to proposed American's with Disabilities Act standards, and a Congressional study on improving access to outdoor recreational activities on federal land.

Mike has a B.S. in Recreation Resource Management from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, including three years coursework in Landscape Architecture and Civil Engineering. He has presented on Universal Design and Programming at several national conferences and serves on the Board of Directors of American Trails. His love of the outdoors and his own paraplegia has given him a great interest in the creation of an accessible outdoor environment that does not ruin the characteristics and value of that environment.


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Doug Alderson works as the paddling trails coordinator for the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails, part of the Division of Recreation and Parks, Florida Department of Environmental Protection. He coordinates most of Florida’s 45 state designated paddling trails, including the 1,515-mile Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, as well as the Visit Florida Greenways and Trails website. An avid paddler during his free time, he also writes an outdoor and nature blog for Visit Tallahassee and is the author of several natural history and outdoor adventure books and magazine articles (not to be confused with the Canadian author by the same name).


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Bob Searns is a greenways and trails planner/developer. Over a four decade career, he has helped plan and develop a number of paddleways and urban white water boating solutions including: the city-limit-to-city limit Denver Platte River paddleway, the Fox River Paddleway in Kane County, Il; the Salt Creek corridor near Chicago, Il, the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, near Salida, CO; the Colorado River corridor from Glenwood Springs to Rifle, CO; and a vision for the Wolf River Greenway in Memphis, TN and other cities. Bob also championed a concept for "stairstepping" weir dams adapting the designs to create a series of boatable pools instead of a single dangerous drop. This adaptation was embraced and built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at a number of locations.


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