UOWT Fact Sheet


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 in the water or taking them out. 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.


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.


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.


The Middle Oconee River and the North Oconee River flow through Clarke County for about 55-65 miles before joining just below Athens to form the Oconee River in Milledgeville, Georgia. William Bartram, an 18th century explorer wrote of his adventures along the Oconee Rivers in his book, Travels. This book attracts readers to the rivers to view the wilderness as Bartram once detailed it. The Oconee Rivers sustain a rich blend of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and is home to multiple federally and state-protected species, such as the robust redhorse and various native freshwater mussel species. The North and Middle Oconee Rivers are home to various parks and green spaces, such as, Sandy Creek Park and the Greenway River Network.


explore the water trails of Georgia