Water Trails & Paddling


GA Water TrailS Technical Assistance

GRN’s Success Providing Intensive Technical Assistance

Based on our work to date, Georgia River Network (GRN) has coordinated with partners both statewide and nationally to help direct the establishment of 15 water trails in Georgia (comprising 1,230 miles).  An additional 18 trails are under development.

GRN has transitioned to a ‘Fee for Service’ funding mechanism in order to continue the Intensive Water Trail Technical Assistance program. Our fee structure, which we initiated in 2016, is based on the resources and time it has taken to provide assistance to groups developing their water trails.

GRN has provided intensive technical assistance to the following Water Trails: 

  1. Ochlockonee River Water Trail 
  2. Yellow River Water Trail
  3. Broad River Water Trail
  4. Satilla River Water Trail
  5. South River Water Trail
  6. Flint River Water Trail
  7. GA’s Little River Water Trail
  8. Tugaloo River Water Trail
  9. Upper Oconee Water Trail (in progress)
  10. Coosawattee Watershed Water Trail (in progress)

Please let us know if you would like a list of references that can attest to GRN’s detailed knowledge of Georgia’s water trails and ability to provide expertise and assistance to a group working to develop a successful water trail.

Intensive Technical Assistance Program Details:

Georgia River Network can help with many aspects of your Water Trail project: 

  • Resources: Comprehensive planning documents, success stories and lessons learned from other established water trails, useful information, tools, and templates developed from 3.5 years of intensive assistance provided to 6 water trail groups.
  • Media: Recognition, visibility, and promotion of water trail in GRN press releases, newsletters, GA Water Trail Clearinghouse, other media outlets, and paddling trips
  • Logo Usage: Access to Georgia Water Trail Logo, incorporation of GA Water Trail Network Brand along the trail adding legitimacy, consistency, and certainty that the Water Trail has family friendly public, safe, and legal access and amenities.
  • Membership: Become a member of the GA Water Trail Network of 15 established trails. This group meets annually to determine and maintain consistent standards and criteria, and share resources, success stories and lessons learned.


Details & Overview of Assistance Georgia River Network Provides


6 months to 1 Year (depending on status of water trail). 


Determined on a case by case basis.


Staff Time:
  • Water Trail Meeting Preparation, Coordination, and Facilitation 
  • Correspondence and Follow up with Stakeholders 
  • Water Trail Illustrative/Interactive Map data collection and review
  • Travel (ex. Site Visits)
  • Printing Costs
  • Defining project vision and goals— Assistance with focusing ideas and thoughts into a well-defined project vision with tangible goals.
  • Identifying and analyzing issues and opportunities— Assistance with clarifying challenges, evaluating choices, seeking and providing solutions/opportunities and developing action plans.
  • Assessing and engaging partners and stakeholders— Assistance with reviewing current partners/stakeholders, reevaluating current engagement strategies, developing new partnerships and engagement strategies, and identifying new/different stakeholders.
  • Inventory and mapping of community resources— Assistance with identifying and mapping existing and possible resources and connections to provide a comprehensive inventory for planning and implementation.
  • Priority setting and consensus building— Assistance with facilitating discussion of partners and communities to set project priorities, ensure all voices are recognized and build consensus among the varied voices. 
  • Identifying funding sources— Assistance with reviewing current/past funding sources, reviewing grant applications, and identifying new grant sources.
  • Organizational development— Assistance with developing and organizing a sustainable group, advisory committee, or organization to help implement the project’s goals.
  • Designing community outreach and participation strategies— Assistance with designing community engagement and outreach strategies to gather and maximize input and to reach all members of the community.
  • Planning— Assistance with developing/creating conceptual plans for projects based upon stakeholder and community input. Components include inventorying existing conditions, analyzing options, considering safety issues, and engaging project partners to create conservation and outdoor recreation opportunities in local communities.




The Satilla River Water Trail wouldn’t have happened without the expertise and assistance from Georgia River Network and Gwyneth Moody. The trail idea began as an interest of a local county in connecting to and celebrating the river that flows through their backyard. We saw it as an ideal opportunity to engage this interested public and establish a partnership to create something even bigger and with a positive impact for the community and the river. In 2015, we worked closely and regularly with Gwyneth to begin the process of setting up a water trail partnership and organize a pathway forward to establishing the first Satilla River Water Trail for the region. GRN’s plethora of resources, including templates and toolkits, and their numerous contacts and networks from map making help to legal advice, plus their years of experience in assisting groups with water trails helped us tremendously with the the process.  Now we have a strong partnership of over 15 entities with support from the neighboring municipalities and a soon to be official Satilla River Water Trail that includes printed maps, access signage, website, social media and kiosks. GRN and Gwyneth’s help was essential to the success of our water trail, and for that we are forever grateful!

~ Ashby Nix Worley, Satilla Riverkeeper

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to Georgia River Network. We could not progress on the coordination of a Yellow River Water Trail without all of your help. A small group of kayakers, paddle boarders and local citizens had our first meeting in August of 2011. Our goal was to organize and volunteer to provide an environmental group that watches and protects the Yellow River. We formed a committee, established board members and were all excited.  Our goals were to clean up, advocate, educate, preserve, monitor water quality and establish a water “trail”. Well….. by the end of 2012…we had done a lot of talking but not a lot of progress. In February of 2013, after a year of spinning our kayaks round and round, Gwyneth Moody excitedly informed us the Georgia River Network was coming to the rescue! She brought her motivating excited little self down to Porterdale, Georgia and lit a fire under quite a few folks. She is training us to form partnerships, providing the tools for submissions to local municipalities to designate access points, breaking it down into smaller responsibilities and delegating. Georgia River Network interns are helping build our website, organizing property owner listings and much, much more. Establishing the Yellow River as a Water Trail is important for so many reasons. We absolutely could not do this without the help of Georgia River Network!

~ Tonya Bechtler, Yellow River Water Trail

Georgia River Network provides invaluable assistance on water trail work, especially if your county and city leaders understand the economic impact of increased tourism generated by the water trail (not to mention the health, peace of mind, and sense of community that a good water trail can contribute to).

I’ve been on the BRWA board most of the last 20 years, 16 of those as its treasurer. (I also must disclose I have been on the GRN Board since March 2010, although none of the specific water trails decisions were Board decisions).  BRWA got a Paddle Georgia grant in 2010 from GRN, which we used to put water trail kiosk maps on some of the access sites of the Broad. After that, GRN chose the Broad River and BRWA as one of the water trails that got assistance during the year 2013 from Gwyneth Moody at GRN for organizational and start up work on the water trail.  Gwyneth helped with material for our website and for the Memorandums of Support that we got from 4 of the 5 counties in the middle to lower Broad River watershed, where most of the paddling sports occur. She helped organize and educate the water trail committee through numerous meetings that first year when most of the legwork was developed on making the Broad River a water trail.  With committee input, Gwyneth developed a power point presentation that helped sell the county commissioners and the public on the need for a water trail (and what a water trail is). She also helped with leads on available grants, which led to a grant from a private foundation that allowed BRWA to acquire property now owned by Madison County to put in a new public access canoe launch (in progress now).  BRWA was already a non-profit organization, but as an all-volunteer organization with no staff, I doubt we could have gotten the water trail off to such a great start without the initial help from GRN. I know we wouldn’t have done it without GRN’s focus on water trails, and GRN’s online water trails toolkit and other resources.

If you want to encourage healthy, family friendly outdoor recreation that can also help inform and educate its users about the importance of clean water and clean, healthy streams, you can’t beat a water trail.  It also helps bring fishermen, kayak fishermen, and recreational boaters together for a common and worthy cause. (Plus, when talking with local governments for their support of the water trail, having the expertise of a state wide river advocate like GRN behind us went a long way).

Call me at my work number below (it’s a law firm) if you want to have a discussion.


~ Victor Y. Johnson, Broad River Watershed Association

Georgia River Network

126 South Milledge Avenue, Suite E3, Athens, Georgia 30605 | (706) 549-4508 (phone) | info@garivers.org