Extensive research, coordination, and outreach have occurred to develop a system and plan for implementation of the Water Trail. The process of designation builds on several key documents that have been developed with input and oversight from a wide variety of experts and stakeholders. Key documents that have been developed for the Water Trail are briefly described below.
- Assembly Bill 1296 – San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Act (September 2005). Enabling legislation for the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail.
- Enhanced San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Plan (December 2011). A guide to trail implementation for the agencies and organizations that will develop and manage Water Trail access points and programs. Recommended policies and procedures in the Plan define how the Water Trail will take shape over time by guiding trail planning, development, and management on organizational, programmatic, and trailhead project-specific levels.
- San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail EIR (December 2011). Programmatic CEQA analysis for implementation of the Water Trail Program. Includes discussion of potential impacts, thresholds, and mitigation measures developed in coordination with resource agencies and responses to comments.
- Water Trail Education and Outreach Program (November 2011). Blueprint for education, outreach, and stewardship activities presented in three broad themes: promote personal and navigational safety; create a comprehensive education program to increase environmental education and interpretation, and to support access to the Water Trail for all interested users; and, develop a Water Trail Ethic emphasizing safe, low-impact boating practices and stewardship of the Bay.
- Issues and Recommendations for Improved Accessibility (April 2013). Analysis and recommendations to maximize and prioritize accessibility for Bay Area sites, while balancing environmental considerations.
- San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Accessibility Plan (January 2015). Provides region-specific guidance focused on improving the accessibility of launching and landing sites for persons with disabilities using non-motorized small boats. It provides guidance for both site owners and for the Water Trail implementation and designation process.
- San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Design Guidelines (January 2019). Outlines best practices for facility and site design to meet the needs of non-motorized small boaters, while protecting public safety and the environment.