The Center for Louisiana Studies (CLS) at UL Lafayette is celebrating completion of four floating kayak/canoe docks on the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail in the communities of Port Barre, St. Martinville, Loreauville, and Charenton. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held June 30 in Loreauville at 10am, at the site of floating dock, 119 Bridge Street, Loreauville, LA.
The Federal Highways Administration’s Recreational Trails Program, administered through the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism, funded the installation of the docks. “As part of the original group who created the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail, it’s very satisfying to bring bayou access to areas where none existed and encourage locals to get on the water and enjoy the beauty and peace of the Bayou Teche,” says Jennifer Ritter Guidry, the principle investigator for the grant and Assistant Director for Programming and Special Projects at CLS.
The Loreauville dock was installed last summer and Mayor Brad Clifton has seen increased traffic into his community as a result. “The dock will be one of the features in our planned Memorial Park for former Mayor Al Broussard. When completed, the trailhead park will be a wonderful destination for visitors and local folks to enjoy,” notes Clifton.
The Bayou Teche Paddle Trail is Louisiana’s only National Water Trail, and one of only 21 nationally recognized water trails in the nation. Designation as a National Water Trail places the Teche in an elite group of waterways, and will increase recreational tourism for the fifteen communities and four parishes along the 130-mile bayou. Eventually, the Bayou Teche Paddle trail will have 15 official access points for paddle trips, ranging from seven miles to the full 130 miles. The TECHE Project, anon-profit organization, serves as the manager of the National Paddle Trail and works with local communities, and parish and state governments to develop a first-class paddle trail. Patti Holland, Council Member with the TECHE Project, says, “Installation of the four docks compliments the full-service dock and trailhead located in Breaux Bridge. Having these five access points at miles 0, 34, 49, 64, and 91 really helps move us toward our objective of having a paddle trail dock in all of the Bayou Teche trail towns. We thank UL Lafayette for their hard work to get the four beautiful docks on the water!”
Mark your calendars for ribbon cutting ceremonies at each site:
Loreauville: 10am on June 30
St. Martinville:10am on July 24
Port Barre:10am on July 25
Charenton:10am on August TBA
We invite everyone to join the university and the TECHE Project to celebrate increased access for paddlers and other non-motorized recreational watercraft along the scenic and historic Bayou Teche.
More information about the ceremony and the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail can be found at http://www.louisianastudies.louisiana.edu and at www.techeproject.org or by contacting Jennifer Guidry at 337.482.1320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.