ST. CLOUD -- A group of water paddling enthusiasts, economic development organizations and outfitters will gather in St. Cloud next week for the first-ever Minnesota State Water Trails Tourism Summit.

DNR Water Trails Coordinator Erik Wrede says with 33 designated water trail routes in the state of Minnesota, they want to promote paddling as a recreation destination and also create an economic benefit to those communities.  Wrede also says it can help promote stewardship of our rivers.

The Minnesota state water trails system started in 1963 and is the first and largest in the nation with 4,500 mapped and managed routes.The system also includes 1,500 facilities which include campsites, rest areas, portages and public water accesses.

The summit will take place Monday and Tuesday at the River's Edge Convention Center. To learn more, visit the water trails summit webpage.