Coastal Smart Growth Home: Getting Started: Create Nature Preserves, Hiking, and Blue Trails


Natural areas, such as nature preserves and parks for hiking and recreation, increase neighboring property values, attract businesses and residents, support tourism, offer opportunities for recreation, and provide scenic value. Blue trails (blue ways) are the water equivalent to hiking trails. They are created to facilitate recreation in and along rivers and water bodies and are found in urban settings as well as remote environments. They may also be used for commuting purposes.

How to Get Started

Welcome To The Blue Trails Guide


The Blue Trials Guide, produced by the American Rivers organization, includes step by step resources on how to plan, build, manage, and promote blue trails in your community.

Trail-Building Toolbox


Rails to Trails is a conservancy dedicated to creating a nationwide network of hiking trials out of former railroad lines. Their trail building toolbox includes resources on how to acquire, plan, build, and manage trails.

Planning For Parks, Recreation, And Open Space In Your Community

This guide by the State of Washington Recreation and Conservation Office includes steps, techniques, and funding options for parks, recreation, and open space.

Garden for Wildlife


Learn how to protect open space and create nature preserves in your own back yard with the National Wildlife Federation's guide on gardening, which also includes a certification program for backyard gardens.