Our Mission & Principles

Our mission guides our principles.

River Cleanup

Our Mission

Our mission is to protect, promote, and preserve the 45-mile-long Chemung River, its tributaries (the Canisteo, Cohocton, Cowanesque, and Tioga Rivers), and watershed through education and providing resources that allow our community to better use, enjoy, and respect our natural resources. We provide guided tours, hikes, and cleanups as we work to make our rivers easier, safer, and more fun to use and enjoy. We build boat launches and add and improve river trails. We also provide riverside education and safe boating programs for all ages.

Our Guiding Principles

Partnerships | Cooperating & Sharing

A water trail is the product of partnerships among an array of governmental and non-governmental entities. With volunteers as the key supporters and advocates of the trail, partnerships are developed between government land managing agencies, private property owners, government regulatory agencies, user groups, and local businesses. Together, these groups can create and maintain a successful water trail with broad-based and long-term support.

The Chemung Basin River Trail Partnership (CBRTP) is a coalition of agencies working together to protect our rivers and make them more accessible to everyone. Part of the larger Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, CBRTP formed in 1999 to develop a river trail system in the Chemung Valley and promote protection of the Chemung Basin. The Chemung Basin includes the Cohocton, Canisteo, Cowanesque, Tioga, and Chemung Rivers and various creeks in the area. In 2009, the partnership became part of the Friends of the Chemung River Watershed in Elmira, N.Y.

Stewardship | Leave No Trace!

Water trails promote minimum-impact practices that ensure a sustainable future for the waterways and adjacent lands. Water trails embrace the Leave No Trace Code of Outdoor Ethics that promotes responsible use and enjoyment of the outdoors. Trail users who are educated to respect the quality of water, land, vegetation and wildlife habitats along the trail are good caretakers. When users learn the principles of protection and restoration on the trail, they may be inclined abide by these principles elsewhere.

Volunteerism | Experiencing the Joy of Involvement

Most water trails are created, promoted, and maintained through the energy and dedication of local citizens who work individually and through "friend" organizations. Community involvement and volunteerism are the keys to developing a sense of trail stewardship, promoting the trail within the community, encouraging respect for the trail's natural and cultural heritage and ensuring that local governments support the trail's existence. Through love of place, and of good times associated with it, volunteers bring hard work and celebration to the water trail community.

Children Holding Signs

Education | Learning by Experience

Through comprehensive trail guides, signage, public outreach, and informative classes, water trail organizations encourage awareness of the natural, cultural, and historical attributes of the trail. Serving as outdoor classrooms, water trails teach through experience.

Conservation | Protecting our Natural Heritage

Water trail activities support the conservation of the aquatic ecosystem and contiguous lands. Trail builders and activists are a respected constituency advocating for resource protection and participating in resource restoration. The water trail community is a watchdog in prevention of environmentally harmful acts, striving to sustain the natural integrity of the trail and preserve the quality of the trail experience.

Community Vitality | Connecting People and Places

A water trail is a network of recreational and educational opportunities. Hiking trails, bike-ways, greenways, museums, historic sites, parks and preserves are connected by water trails, creating frontiers for exploration, discovery and enrichment. These connections build a sense of place and bind citizens in a love for their community. Water trails link families who grow together through work and play on the trail.

Diversity | Providing Opportunity for All

Water trails are non-exclusive. They benefit the able-bodied and the disabled, the young and the old, the disadvantaged and the advantaged. Water trails welcome all those that want to respectfully enjoy and appreciate the trail experience. Through shared work and play, tolerance and understanding are fostered. Broad-based participation in trail activities is achieved through affirmative outreach and recruitment.

Wellness and Wellbeing | Caring for Self and Others

Water trails are wholesome; fresh air and exercise bring fitness and health to trail users. While actively promoting these benefits, water trail users need reliable and accurate safety information and training to responsibly enjoy and appreciate water trails. Safe use requires a commitment to safe design and sound management. Awareness, education, and skills training in health and safety promote the wellness and wellbeing of all water trail users.