The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jamie Mierau, 202.347.7550
Caitlin Jennings, 202.347.7550

American Rivers Release The Blue Trails Guide

The guide will help promote river recreation and conservation


American Rivers today released the Blue Trails Guide, to help
promote river recreation and conservation in local communities. Blue
trails, the water equivalent to hiking trails, have the potential to
stimulate local economies, encourage physical fitness, improve
community pride, and make rivers and communities healthier. The Blue
Trails Guide is designed to make the process for establishing a
successful blue trail easier and more accessible.

The guide, launched today at the 2008 National Trails Symposium in Little Rock and available at and,
provides step-by-step instructions for developing a thriving blue
trail. Because a healthy river is necessary for a successful blue
trail, the guide includes tips and goals for river conservation. The
guide also has practical advice on planning, building, and managing a
blue trail for conservation as well as case studies from experienced
practitioners across the country.

"The Blue Trails Guide is an excellent resource that will help
communities protect and restore their rivers and landscapes through
recreation," said Jamie Mierau, Director of River Protection for
American Rivers. Blue trails provide opportunities for economic renewal
and growth through jobs and tourism. And, because they can result in
healthier rivers, blue trails can increase property values, provide
cost effective flood control, and reduce infrastructure costs.

Communities across the country are realizing the conservation
benefits of river recreation. The process for developing a blue trail
on the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg, Virginia, for example,
began shortly after the Embrey Dam removal in 2004. The initial intent
was to offer historic paddling trips along 30-miles of the river. With
broad support from the community, the water trail was designated. The
excitement for this water trail helped build support for a critical
4,200 acre conservation easement along the river. With more than 1
million people living within 30 miles of the property, these lands
faced unprecedented development pressures. The eased lands contain
streamside buffers that provide natural protection for Fredericksburg's
water supply and allow people to enjoy the river without fear of
encroaching development.

Blue trails also promote healthy living by providing a fun, safe,
and inexpensive avenue for regular exercise. And blue trails promote
community pride by preserving historic places, connecting us to our
heritage, and creating a common ground for social interaction with
family and neighbors.

The Blue Trails Guide is designed for anyone interested in creating
a blue trail including, but not limited to, recreational enthusiasts,
planners, conservation organizations, and local and state governments.
Visit to learn more.

American Rivers is the only national organization standing up for healthy rivers so our communities can thrive. Through national advocacy, innovative solutions and our growing network of strategic partners, we protect and promote our rivers as valuable assets that are vital to our health, safety and quality of life. Founded in 1973, American Rivers has more than 65,000 members and supporters nationwide, with offices in Washington, DC and the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, California and Northwest regions.