Our Mission

Mission Statement

We protect and steward our water trail and foster community vitality to promote inspiring outdoor experiences in the Northern Forest Region.

Our Vision

As the best water trail in North America, the Northern Forest Canoe Trail provides access to the natural beauty of our region and route. Through quality management and collaborative community partnerships, our trail contributes to the economic resilience of the region and promotes the health of its lands and waters.

We Value

Access to Experiences

Wild places and open spaces have been abundant in the Northern Forest for centuries. By improving access to the waterways of the region, we encourage people to have active experiences and build stronger connections. We’re here to offer transformational adventures today, and to ensure that the gifts, stories, and trails here now are ready to be explored by future generations.


We steward our water trail and the land around it. We foster life and love of this place. Though we work to build and protect the trail today, the social and political environment, and perceptions and needs of the community continue to change and evolve. We strive to anticipate the long view and be nimble—poised to meet these ever-changing challenges.

Protection through Connection

To know something is to care about it. People can connect with a landscape, and a landscape can foster a connection among people. We create opportunities to connect with each other and the environment in order to protect the places and relationships that sustain us and provide the framework for individuals, families, and businesses to thrive.


Through a combination of inspiration and commitment we harness the strength of shared leadership in communities along the trail to encourage residents, businesses, paddlers and recreationists of all kinds towards the common goal of health and vitality in the Northern Forest.


We thrive on our passion for the outdoors. We are inspired by a deep breath of blue sky gulped in with a long view down a river, the miracle of five different types of ferns clinging to a single cliffside micro-habitat, a nest of baby osprey waiting for a meal, laughter from children playing by the water, and the wonder of discovery.


Innovation comes in sweeping waves and subtleties. While our trail has been “complete” since 2006, it is not stagnant: waterways are living organisms that must be cared for forever. Innovation is the part of our culture that enables us to continually evolve the practices we use to protect and steward the trail and keep people connected to the wonders of the northern forest.


Our primary purpose is to partner with communities in the Northern Forest so our trail can support the successful future of the region. The feat of stringing together 740 miles of trail would not have been possible without a real open ability to collaborate. This is the foundation of all that we have accomplished and remains a guiding principle moving forward.


Perseverance and the willingness to get our hands dirty is essential. We learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward. This earns respect and friendship in the Northern Forest. It is how we get things done.


A concept of consistency of actions, values, expectations, and outcomes. Regardless of maintenance challenges, funding trends, and the national crisis of disconnectedness from the country’s wild open spaces, we remain steadfast in our mission to protect and steward the trail and the Northern Forest Region.