The Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is celebrating completion of four floating kayak/canoe docks on the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail in Port Barre, St. Martinville, Loreauville and Charenton.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the floating dock in St. Martinville is scheduled 10 a.m. July 24 at Evangeline Oak Park, 122 Evangeline St., downstream from the famous Evangeline Oak.
“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,” Jennifer Ritter Guidry said in a news release. She is the principal investigator for the Federal Highways Administration grant funding the docks and the assistant director for programming and special projects at CLS.
“The new dock will provide the recreational tourist a front-row seat to the historical and cultural offerings that St. Martinville provides,” St. Martinville Mayor Thomas Nelson said in the release.
The Bayou Teche Paddle Trail is Louisiana’s only National Water Trail, and one of only 21 nationally recognized water trails in the nation.
Providing a venue for tourism for the 15 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, a nonprofit organization, serves as the manager of the National Paddle Trail. Patti Holland, Council Member with the TECHE Project, says, “Installation of the four docks complements 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."