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PaddleBR in the News!

2014-02-03

Woo-hoo! We made the front page (of the Metro section) of today’s edition of The Advocate! Get your copy on newsstands everywhere.

The article is also online: “Pair battle logjams to clear Bayou Fountain“, which includes the video embedded above.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Steven Sanders permalink
    2014-02-03 11:53am

    I am an occasional paddler living in East Baton Rouge Parish. (Two canoes, three kayaks) The Bayou Fountain clean up article in The Advocate of February 3, 2014 got my attention. I paddled the stretch from Highland Road Park to Bayou Manchac then upstream to the old Alligator Bar. (I got chewed on from one of the owners because I took out along the road near their business). That was about 7 years ago, and I remember having to make about a half dozen portages because of all the trash and debris in Bayou Fountain. I’m amazed someone hasn’t griped to DPW to clear out the bayou as I believe it would help alleviate flooding in the area. I wanted to broach a larger topic, which may or may not interest to you. I have long felt Baton Rouge could offer some wonderful paddling experiences if it would just build or allow some access to the Comite and Amite Rivers. I have paddled the Comite from Dyer Road to Joor several times, then from the railroad tracks off of Stevendale to its confluence with the Amite above Florida Blvd. I used to know someone who lived on Riverview Drive so I was allowed to take out there, but that option has now been foreclosed. I have paddled the Amite from Magnolia Bridge all the way to Kendalwood, I used to paddle from Riverview down to Jones Creek then up Jones Creek to Woodland Drive (I live in Shenandoah). I also used to know someone on South Harrells Ferry, too, Needless to say, getting into either river, as well as figuring out how to get out, has been problematic. Plus, I had my truck broken into off of Dyer, which has soured my enthusiasm for leaving my vehicle unattended. (I know that break in’s can happen anywhere.) I would love to see launches or access built at key road crossings so we could offer paddling experiences to everyone. I’ve done all sorts of things to get on the rivers around here. I would rather access the rivers openly and legally than rely on the good mood of some adjacent landowner. I don’t think opening up access will draw the beer drinking, trash leaving crowds because I don’t think anyone is going to jump into tubing to compete with Tiki Tubing. My thoughts are to build access as follows:

    Comite River

    Hwy. 64
    Dyer Road
    Dead end of Old Comite Baptist Road or the new Comite Road
    Hooper Road (I know you can technically carry in from Blackwater Conservation Area or the mountain bike trails, but it’s anything but convenient)
    Joor Road
    Back of Waddill (LDWF)
    Stevendale Railroad Tracks or make an approach from the new BREC Frenchtown Road Conservation area.

    Amite River

    Somewhere off north Greenwell Springs Road, perhaps above confluence of Sandy Creek
    Hooper Road (presuming they do build on across the river)
    Magnolia Bridge
    BREC Frenchtown Road (To me the access is a bit far to carry, but better than nothing. Perhaps a gravel road on the north side of the railroad track so you could just drive to the river?)
    Florida Blvd or (or Strain Road)
    Interstate 12 (sort of like the turn arounds for the Sabine River and Tchefuncte River)
    South Harrells Ferry
    Maybe something off of Tiger Bend
    Kendalwood or Horseshoe Drive

    Obviously, this is an ambitious list. And once the Amite River Basin completes the big drainage canal up north, that could affect paddling opportunities on the Comite. It’s already low but it is canoeable. Do you know of anyone else interested in opening up access to the Comite and Amite? I personally think the ecotourism would be a shot in the arm for Baton Rouge, plus you could have it a pay to launch honor system that would help offset costs. It doesn’t take much to make a canoe/kayak launch. Even a simple gravel road and gravel parking lot with a basic slab of concrete would be appreciated. Anyway, good luck with your cause. I’ll try to track this site and come along for some cleanup help.
    Steven E. Sanders – 225-802-5490 (cell)

    • 2014-02-03 3:18pm

      I’ve done the half-mile trek to the Comite at the back of Blackwater many times. (It helps that I made a cheap canoe dolly out of a piece of 2×6 and two Harbor Freight pneumatic casters.) I haven’t launched from Frenchtown’s new Amite access yet, as we’ve been too busy with Bayou Fountain lately, but I’ve walked it, and it’s another of those half-mile treks to an unimproved sandbar launch. Not ideal, but it’s a step forward. Waddill can be convenient, except that it suffers from the Chick-Fil-A problem (i.e. the only times I’ve thought of paddling there, it’s been Sunday, and it’s closed on Sundays).

      I’ve talked casually with BREC folk about paddling access, and several locations came up that you also have on your list. While I know there has been interest (and in increasing amounts) in paddle access, I’m just not sure how long it’s going to be before we can get multiple launches on a single river. Instead of just waiting, begging, or what have you, we decided at PaddleBR that we’d start with Bayou Fountain and work toward getting a usable paddle trail started there. There’s existing park access, it’s a beautiful waterway (once it’s unjammed and cleaned up a bit), and the lack of current can be convenient. I like paddling rivers, but if you start with just a single launch, having it on a bayou is a net positive.

      We’re certainly interested in the long game, but at the moment we’re focusing on getting an initial paddling opportunity in place. It may even be that having a first paddle trail could help demonstrate how many paddlers we have in the area, which I imagine could help along the process of getting more access. A rudder only works once you’re moving, so to speak.

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