A New Vision for the Jamaica Bay Water Trail

New Yorkers’ relationship with the waterfront has undergone a renaissance over the last two decades. With the advocacy efforts of groups like RPA and Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, the expansion of waterfront parks and the establishment of the NYC Water Trail in 2007, it is no longer a secret that one of the best ways to experience New York City is from the water.

Improvements along the waterfront have attracted thousands of new and veteran paddlers. The NYC Water Trail, a marked route to help guide paddlers, links 53 launch sites, making it possible for residents from around the city to experience paddling.

Recently, RPA  helped develop a vision to improve the water trail around Jamaica Bay. While the bay’s calm waters are increasingly popular among paddlers, the 31-square-mile bay between south Brooklyn and Queens lacks the infrastructure of some better-known New York waterfronts.

As investments in the area attract more visitors to Jamaica Bay Water­front, establishing a cohesive, user-friendly water trail system will be vital to the Jamaica Bay experience. Although some water trail infrastructure such as signage and launch pads currently exists in Jamaica Bay, there are many opportunities to better connect and promote the water amenities.

With support from the National Park Service, RPA collected community input, conducted research and developed a concept for the Jamaica Bay Water Trail, which includes improvements to the existing water trail infrastructure, the addition of new launch sites and water trail boathouse hubs, and creation of a series of overlapping daytrip paddles that would encourage users to explore different aspects of the bay.

You can read more about the project and RPA’s concept for the Jamaica Bay Water Trail here

--Kyle Kozar

Photo: Whitney Starbuck Boykin