What is a Water Trail?

  • Water equivalent of a hiking trail
  • Blueways, canoe trails, and paddle trails are all water trails
  • It has access points along the river, like trailheads, for putting boats on the water or taking them off
  • Suitable for day-trips in canoes and kayaks
  • Water trails can be various lengths and are used by paddlers, anglers, hikers and picnickers of all ages and ability.


  • Paddling is an easy outdoor activity for many types of people
  • The recent America’s Great Outdoors Initiative in 2010 found that Americans want access to their rivers, lakes and streams
  • Communities benefit from increased recreation and tourism in their town.


  • Paddlers see the conditions of the river and become advocates for clean water
  • The river teaches paddlers about wildlife habitat
  • Protections that can help keep the river clean can include improved zoning and buffer requirements, improved storm water practices, prevention of new water quality threats, and enforcement of water quality laws.

Tourism and Economic Growth

  • The outdoor recreation industry provides 6.1 million American jobs, $646 billion in spending each year, $39.9 billion in federal tax revenue, and $39.7 billion in state/local tax revenue
  • In Georgia, approximately 1 million paddlers participate in the sport
  • More than 23 billion dollars is spent in the state on outdoor recreation
  • Communities throughout Georgia are realizing the economic benefits of highlighting their waterways
  • In 2002, the estimated impact of visitors to the Chattooga River was $2.6 million, with 60 jobs being supported by river recreation.

Satilla River Water Trail

  • The Satilla River is among the last free-flowing rivers in Georgia. The river supports a significant number of plants and animals, including endangered and threatened species, and is an industrial and agricultural water supply for the region
  • The first phase of the Satilla River Water Trail (SRWT) will run from the Hwy 121 Bridge in Pierce County to Hwy 301 Bridge in Brantley County, approximately 26.8 miles long. This includes 5 public access points with boat launches, including 2 highway bridge crossings
  • Signage will be established in various locations and access points along the SRWT
  • The trail will ultimately be 175 miles long beginning at Jamestown Landing in Ware County and continuing downstream along the Satilla River to Burnt Fort Bridge in Charlton County
  • Counties along the water trail will eventually include: Ware, Pierce, Brantley, Charlton, and Camden County.

Take Home Points:

  • Water trails have many benefits for relatively little investment
  • Water trails can help diversify local economies
  • Many Georgia communities are already taking advantage of the benefit water trails.
Satilla River Resources

Beedle, J. (2008).
North Carolina State Trails Program: 2008 Paddle Tourism Study. www.ncparks.gov

Bowker, J., D. English, and H. Cordell. (1999).
Outdoor recreation participation and consumption: projections 2000 to 2050. Outdoor recreation in American life: A national assessment of demand and supply trends. Champagne (IL): Segamore Press Inc.: 323‐350.

Kline, C., Cardenas, D., Duffy, L., & Swanson, J. R. (2012).
Funding sustainable paddle trail development: paddler perspectives, willingness to pay and management implications. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 20(2), 235-256.

Nadel, R. (2005).
Economic Impacts of Parks, Rivers, Trails and Greenways Unpublished Master’s Thesis. University of Michigan.

Marcouiller, D., K. Kim, and S. Deller. (2005).
Natural amenities and rural development: Understanding spatial and distributional attributes. Growth and Change 36:273‐297.

Moore, Roger L., and Christos Siderelis. (2003).
Use and Economic Importance of the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River. Prepared for American Rivers, Inc. and Park Planning and Special Studies and Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Programs of The National Park Service.
Use & Economic Importance of the Chattooga River [PDF] Accessed May 4, 2013

Outdoor Industry Association. (2002).
Outdoor Recreation Participation & Spending Study: A State‐by‐State Perspective. www.outdoorindustry.org. Accessed June 4, 2013.

Outdoor Industry Association. (2012).
The Outdoor Recreation Economy Report [PDF]. Accessed June 4, 2013.

For more information please visit us on Facebook or satillariverwatertrail@gmail.com

Satilla River Water Trail (phase 1)

Interested in tips and tricks on fishing the Satilla River

Brentz McGhin and his son Alex McGhin with a pair of big warmouth and redbreast sunfish caught on the Satilla River