Sunday, April 14, 2024

Outdoor recreation advocates seek input on waterway accessibility

90-Miler paddlers navigate their way through Raquette Lake.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) and the Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program of the National Parks Service are partnering on a survey to better understand accessibility along the waterways of the Northern Forest region.

The goal of the partnership between the NFCT and RTCA is to improve access for adaptive paddlers and anyone with a disability or mobility challenge interested in paddlesports. The Northern Forest Canoe Trail Accessibility Survey represents the first step in the planning process for this project.

“We want to create waterway access that is inclusive and welcoming to everyone, regardless of ability,” said Alex Delhagen, the NFCT’s assistant trail director. “Over the years, our stewardship program has rehabilitated campsites, installed modern and user-friendly access points and implemented new technology along portage routes that protects against erosion and enhances safety. These projects represent progress, but we also understand we can do more to encourage all users to enjoy the water, whether they’re looking to spend multiple days paddling in the wilderness or a single afternoon fishing.”

“The word accessible can mean different things to different people,” Delhagen added. “We want to know where folks like to paddle and what kinds of improvements would make certain paddling opportunities safer and more enjoyable for a range of bodies, from those with creaky knees and stiff hips to people in wheelchairs and everyone in between.”

The results of the survey will help the NFCT identify specific needs, opportunities for improvement and target future infrastructure projects more effectively. The survey takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete and can be found at

To learn more about the survey, contact Alex Delhagen at

For more information about the NFCT, visit

About the Northern Forest Canoe Trail:

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a nonprofit organization that maintains and promotes the 740-mile water trail that runs from Old Forge, NY, to Fort Kent, Maine, and connects New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire and Maine. The trail showcases the mix of landscapes and communities currently lining the traditional routes used by Indigenous peoples, settlers and guides. It is the longest in-land water trail in the nation and consists of 23 rivers and streams, 59 lakes and ponds, 45 communities and 65 portages. To learn more, visit

Photo at top provided by Northern Forest Canoe Trail Communications Director, Chris Morris.

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

One Response

  1. Paul says:

    Many Adirondack waterway access sites are specifically designed to limit access if you have mobility issues. Look at how many pond access spots require some sort of a carry. Not saying I am against this – just noting that is how they are set up.

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