Planning Process

The Nisqually River Council (NRC) is an education and advocacy organization that works to promote sustainability in the Nisqually Watershed through the implementation of the Nisqually Watershed Stewardship Plan (NWSP). We believe that sustainability has three components: social, economic and environmental integrity. The NWSP addresses each of these components and seeks to achieve balance between seemingly competing factors.

In 2015, the NRC initiated a project to prepare a plan for the development and management of a water trail on the mainstem Nisqually River from Nisqually State Park to the Nisqually Delta. The goal was to facilitate a collaborative planning process inclusive of all landowners along the river and with other stakeholders to develop safe and appropriate public access points to the river for launching and taking out small human powered boats, such as rafts, canoes, kayaks and inner tubes.

The Nisqually River Foundation (NRF) is the 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides funding and staffing to the NRC as it implements the NWSP. NRF staff provided leadership throughout this planning process. Technical planning assistance was provided to the NRF on this project from the ‘Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance’ (RTCA) program of the National Park Service. RTCA awards grants of non-financial planning assistance to government agencies and/or non-profit groups working on local conservation and recreation projects. RTCA is assisting the NRC in defining and managing the planning process and in designing public outreach strategies. For more information, visit

The planning project took 3 years to complete. During that time, NRF staff and RTCA worked with a citizen advisory committee to work through a planning process that included the following components: vision and goal setting; stakeholder analysis and outreach; inventory of existing resources and facilities; issue identification; community and public outreach; identification of opportunities, constraints and management issues; evaluation of alternatives; development of recommendations; identification of potential funding and partnership opportunities; and plan production and adoption.

Read the draft concept plan, survey results, potential funding sources or view our story map below to learn more about the planning process.