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Federal Highway Administration awards grant for Louisiana canoe, kayak project

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The Federal Highway Administration awarded an $83,447 grant to the Center for Louisiana Studies. The funds will assist in the completion of 134-mile Bayou Teche Paddle Trail. The trail will stretch from Port Barre Louisiana to Patterson.

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The trail will flow pass St. Landry, St. Mary, Iberia and St. Martin Parishes. The purpose is to increase recreational use of Bayou Teche.

Annie Ourso, Special to the Advocate, announced January 2 2014 that plans for the canoe and kayak trail moves forward. The next step is to solicit public input at two meetings planned for January.

Especially important, are the reactions from communities about the eight proposed access sites and floating docks along the Bayou Teche. Cooperation from residents and landowners are essential.

Public input is a primary requirement for the grant, according to Jennifer Guidry. Guidry is assistant director at the Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism.

Michael Martin of the Center for Louisiana Studies suggests there are multiple ways people can expressed their opinions about the paddle trail. The simplest and most reliable is to attend the two scheduled meetings.

The first meeting is Jan 9 at New Iberia Hall. The second is Jan 13 at Acadian Memorial in St. Martinville. Both meetings are at 6 p.m.

The plan is to compile comments from the January meetings to create a final plan. Once that is completed, the project can move into its implementation stage, according to Jennifer Guidry.

Trey Snyder, a Bayou Teche resident, hopes the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail becomes a nationally recognized paddle trail by the National Park Service.

Management of the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail is a shared partnership between the TECHE Project, Center for Louisiana Studies and National Park Service.

Bayou Teche is already the site of an annual canoe, kayak and pirogue race along the entire length of the bayou.

The Tour du Teche began in 2010 and starts on the first Friday in October.

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