.

Major Step Toward 'Water Trail' Around Perimeter of San Francisco Bay

Coastal Conservancy earmarks $1 million to coordinate sites where people can use kayaks, canoes and other nonmotorized vessels.

A state environmental agency is spending $1 million to establish a water trail around San Francisco Bay for small non-motorized watercraft such as kayaks and canoes, California Coastal Conservancy officials said.

The conservancy approved funding for the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail on Thursday in Oakland, according to a news release. The funding will be used by the Association of Bay Area Governments to develop and improve water trail sites, provide information about the trail, promote safe boating practices and wildlife protection, and plan for the trail's continued development.

The water trail, in the planning stages for the past six years, will accommodate users of small, non-motorized boats, including kayaks, canoes, rowboats, dragon boats, whale boats, sculls, windsurf boards, and kiteboards.

The conservancy also adopted a plan for developing the water trail that will designate launching and landing sites on the shores of all nine Bay Area counties, according to agency officials.

This plan identified 112 potential sites, of which 95 are already in use and almost all are publicly owned, the conservancy said. Inclusion of any site in the water trial would be voluntary.

Water trail sites are expected to be dedicated starting this fall,  conservancy officials said. "There are a growing number of people who enjoy the bay on kayaks and canoes, but little coordination among the existing sites that provide access to open water," said Doug Bosco, chair of the conservancy, in a statement.

"Our goals are to inform people about how to get onto the bay and to make their use of the bay a more rewarding and safer experience," Bosco said.

The Association of Bay Area Governments is a planning agency designed to address social, environmental and economic issues in the Bay Area. The California Coastal Conservancy is a state agency created to protect and improve the coast and San Francisco Bay.

 — Bay City News Service

Nick Kies March 19, 2011 at 04:30 PM
Okay, I'm at a loss here, what part of the bay is blocked from kayaks? What the bay needs is more water access and boat ramps. Those boat ramps should be paid for out of marine taxes on fuel and boat sales. The federal and local governments needs to stop thinking of the public as customers and treat them like owners.
Brent Ainsworth March 19, 2011 at 05:10 PM
I believe that's the point of this effort, Nick -- to coordinate access points and publicize them better.

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