New Canoe Trails in NE Louisiana - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

New Canoe Trails in NE Louisiana

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By Larry Rhymes

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A paddling workshop, an initiative to let landowners and others know of the opportunities in nature-based tourism, was held last fall at Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge.  The gathering has paid off for this area, as three waterways trails are now available for canoe adventurers in Northeast Louisiana.

Dora Ann Hatch is LSU Agritourism Coordinator.  "That was the beginning of exploring some trails that we could note as paddling trails.  So we now have three brochures at all Louisiana Tourism Centers.  You can decide to paddle on Tensas River, go to Bayou Bartholomew or Bayou Macon."

Joe Rolfe is a member of the Agritourism Advisory Committee, and along with River Guide John Ruskey helped develop the trails.  He tells of the towering cypress trees along one stream that were here before the explorers visited the Mississippi Valley.

"John Ruskey writes very poetically about egrets and cypress trees that can be seen.  One of the trails adjoins Bayou Bartholomew.  That is Chemin-a-Haut Creek and we've dated several cypress trees on that creek as being over a thousand years old.  It is a beautiful stream."

Ecotourism is concerned mainly with natural habitats.  Agritourism deals with developing farming areas.  The goal of both is to utilize the natural beauty of our state to entice visitors.

Hatch:  "It is one more reason for people to stay in our locale.  Many people come in for various things and they are looking for extra things to do."

Rolfe:  "So it helps the hotel and restaurant industry along with the direct benefits to the tourism industry."

The average length of the new canoe trails is 7 to 10 miles.  The brochures list detailed information including GPS locations for access points, water levels and trip difficulty levels.

For more information on the trails, go to: www.explorelouisiananorth.org

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