Understanding National Water Trails: From Application to Designation

This webinar will dive in deeper on the process for trails to become designated National Water Trails, which are a subset of the National Recreation Trails.

Presented by:

Event Details

** This event has passed **

August 19, 2021

10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (Mountain Time)
12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (Central Time)
01:00 PM to 02:30 PM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost: FREE


Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
Learning Credits
are available for this webinar.

Download a Recording

This webinar is free. Would you consider a donation to support this webinar?


Webinar Outline

This webinar is a follow up to our webinar Understanding the National Recreation Trails (NRT) Program as it will dive in deeper on the process for trails to become National Water Trails (NWT), which are a subset of the National Recreation Trails (trails that are a part of the National Trails System*). You will hear from managers of recently designated NWTs who will share their experience with the NWT application process, their responsibilities as water trail managers, and how NWT designation has impacted their community (locally, tourism, etc.). You will also hear from National Park Service staff and learn about 7 Best Management Practices for NWTs that include details on the NWT application process, what to expect, and more.

*The National Trails System Act of 1968 authorized creation of a national system of trails comprised of National Recreation Trails, National Scenic Trails, and National Historic Trails.

Following the presentation, the panelist will respond to questions from webinar participants.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how to navigate the NWT application process
  • Understand the benefits to being a designated NWT
  • Understand the roles of the partners involved


This webinar qualifies as a Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) course (via LA CES).

Questions & Answers

Webinar Resources


Webinar Partners


Peter Bonsall, National Trails Program Specialist, National Park Service
Lakewood, Colorado

Peter Bonsall is the National Trails Program Specialist for the National Park Service. He provides technical assistance to the National Scenic and Historic Trails and coordinates the National Recreation Trail program for the Department of the Interior.


Alison Bullock, Community Planner, Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program, National Park Service
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Alison Bullock has served as a Community Planner for the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) since 2000, providing technical assistance for trail and conservation projects primarily in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and North Carolina. Prior to her career with NPS, Alison worked for the State of Tennessee as the Greenways & Trails Coordinator. Alison is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a Master of Science in Planning. She is a past recipient of Great Outdoors Week’s Legends Award and a graduate of NPS’s mid-level management development program. Over the past 25 years, Alison has developed an expertise in planning greenways, water trails, and complex outdoor recreation projects. She has served on the National Water Trails technical review team for annual NWT applications since 2015.


Sarah Hippensteel Hall, PhD, Manager, Watershed Partnerships, Miami Conservancy District
Dayton, Ohio

Sarah believes that water is a critical element for community health and prosperity and communities who enjoy their rivers are more likely to protect their water. She currently serves as the Manager of Watershed Partnerships for the Miami Conservancy District, a 101-year old watershed agency. She builds diverse partnerships across many boundaries to protect and restore healthy rivers and aquifers, and improve and promote river access and recreation.

She graduated from Antioch University in 2010 with a PhD in Leadership and Change. She also teaches undergraduate courses in leadership studies, and resource scarcity and conflict. In 2012 she was presented with a Distinguished Service Award by the Water Management Association of Ohio. In 2015 she was selected to give a TedX Talk entitled “Water. It’s time to make it personal.”


Dale Harris, Board Member, Trinity Coalition
Garland, Texas

Dale Harris is retired from the telecommunications industry. His career in telecommunications was highlighted with the ushering in of communications over fiber optics.

Dale has always been an outdoor enthusiast, playing in the hills of West Virginia as a kid and later hiking and camping in the National Forests in Virginia and West Virginia. He has been canoeing streams and rivers since his teenage years.

His company transferred him to Dallas in 1990, where his interest in paddling led him to the Dallas Downriver Club (DDRC). The DDRC is a small canoe and kayaking club that specializes in tripping (river camping).

Dale is currently the president of the DDRC. His latest accomplishment was helping get the Trinity River and its branches in the DFW area designated a National Water Trail. He is still part of the leadership team for the Trinity River National Water Trail.


Closed Captioning

We are offering closed captioning for our webinars, thanks to a partnership with VZP Digital. If you are in need of this service, please email us prior to the webinar. An unedited transcript will be sent to all attendees following the webinar.

Learning Credits and CEUs

American Trails is proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

  • American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
  • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) (most HSW approved)
  • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition
  • CEU/PDH equivalency petition for other accepting organizations

Learning credits are free for attendees for American Trails webinars and the International Trails Summit, as well as for other trail and outdoor recreation-related conferences, webinars, and workshops we offer credits for. Learn more here.



While we may individually agree (or disagree) in whole or in part with any or all of the participants, the views expressed in these webinars are not necessarily representative of the views of American Trails as an organization or its board and staff. Unless specific situations are noted by presenters, nothing in American Trails webinars should be considered to be interpreted as a standard.

Terms and Privacy Policy

By registering for our webinars, you submit your information to the webinar organizer and associated presenters and sponsors, who may use it to communicate with you regarding this event and their other services. Your organization may also be added to the American Trails Business Directory. You can easily cancel your registration at any time.

4,154 views • posted 07/09/2021