Bayou Teche Paddle Trail meetings set in New Iberia, Breaux Bridge
A Public meeting to discuss the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail will be held in New Iberia Thursday, Jan. 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Bayou Teche Museum, 131 E. Main St.
A representative from Parish President Ernest Freyou’s office and Kristen Kordecki of Acadiana RC&D will host a community dialog about needed improvements along the waterway as well as new developments to fully serve visitors and residents on the Bayou Teche.
The Iberia Parish community is invited to attend this open event to share suggestions for improved recreational access to the Bayou Teche, as well as small business development opportunities and water quality stewardship.
On Tuesday, Jan. 25, a similar meeting will be held in Breaux Bridge at the St. Martin Parish Agriculture Building, 114 Courthouse St., 5:30-7:30 p.m.
St. Martin Parish appointee Toni DeBosier and Jennifer Ritter of the Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism will meet with St. Martin Parish residents and stakeholders in the development of a permanent paddle trail down the course of the Bayou Teche. The public is encouraged to participate in this open conversation on low-impact recreation opportunities, small business development opportunities, and facilitation of water quality improvement.
The National Park Service (NPS) has awarded the Bayou Teche technical assistance for one year to communities in St. Landry, St. Martin, Iberia and St. Mary parishes to plan for an official paddle trail. The Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism at UL Lafayette, TECHE Project and Acadiana RC&D will be co-managing this NPS Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance project. The RTCA program helps communities across the nation develop paddle and foot trails to help promote low impact, non-motorized recreation and address conservation concerns.
The paddle trail will capitalize on the success of the annual Tour du Teche, the 130-mile adventure canoe race held in September 2010. This project will help communities along Bayou Teche address the need for kayak, canoe & pirogue access to the bayou, water quality improvement needs and small economic development potential. Public input will drive the planning process and will help prioritize projects during the implementation phases.
“The first two public meetings were met with great community support and encouragement, and we look forward to hearing the ideas and concerns of the Iberia and St. Martin parish residents,” commented Acadiana RC&D’s Kristen Kordecki.
“This is the kind of project that needs to have community involvement if we want to sustain the momentum to clean up Bayou Teche and host recreation opportunities,” says Anya Burgess of the TECHE Project.