How to Build a Paddle Trail in Your Community: The Development of a Statewide Paddle Trail Model for North Carolina.

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Title: How to Build a Paddle Trail in Your Community: The Development of a Statewide Paddle Trail Model for North Carolina.
Author: Trask, Jan Elizabeth
Advisors: Elizabeth B. Wilson, Ed.D, Committee Co-Chair
Gene Brothers, Ph.D., Committee Co-Chair
Candace Goode Vick, Re.D., Committee Member
Abstract: The demand for water trail development across the state left the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources State Trails staff racing to meet the public need. The opportunity to alleviate some of this pressure on staff time presented itself in 2004 when the North Carolina Paddle Trails Association submitted a grant to fund an educational series entitled How to Build a Paddle Trail in your Community. While planning the series, it became apparent that several issues were not being addressed in the development of paddle trails. Liability issues were prevalent, navigability concerns were relevant in the piedmont and western regions of the state, the paddling community was diverse in its interests and had no unified voice, there was no consistency in the put-ins and take-outs, there was no system to ensure the sites were managed and maintained, there were no factors which ensure sustainability, and there was no coordination with other government agencies regarding development plans and jurisdictional issues. These needs had to be addressed in the educational series and in all future efforts in which the State Trails Program was involved. Over the course of two years, the State Trails Program staff worked diligently with North Carolina State University Tourism Extension to develop the following: Two six session statewide videoconferences which addressed • macro-level trail development • micro-level trail development • legal issues • construction, management, and maintenance • marketing and evaluation methods • A website ( to house the presentations, educational materials and resources contacts. • A listserv monitored by experts from various fields and government agencies was developed as a resource for paddlers and paddle trail developers. • Formally facilitated consensus building meetings held in every region of the state to ensure issues faced by paddlers were addressed in the educational series. • Communication lines and resource contacts listed on the website. • An Internet questionnaire to rank river basin usage by paddlers in North Carolina The development of the resources however, only increased the demand on the State Trails staff. The staff needed a way to bring some uniformity to the diverse terrains and paddling styles prevalent in North Carolina. A structure was needed which could be superimposed upon existing sites in North Carolina. This structure would allow for local management while ensuring conformity with statewide trails planning directives. The structure would also have to integrate seamlessly with all jurisdictional law and access site styles. The need for this structure was met by the development of a set of standards. Through collaboration with North Carolina State Tourism Extension, North Carolina Sea Grant, the Wildlife Resources Commission, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the North Carolina Division of Tourism and a team of topical experts, a set of Standards for both paddle trails and paddle trail access sites, applicable to all jurisdictions in the state, was developed. This document is a chronological account of the process.
Date: 2007-04-26
Degree: MS
Discipline: Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

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