TPWD News Release — Oct. 15, 2007
BASTROP, Texas– City and state officials will come together Saturday, Nov. 3, to officially launch the newest Texas Paddling Trail. El Camino Real Paddling Trail is a six-mile long route along the Colorado River that begins at Fisherman’s Park in downtown Bastrop. The trail will become the fourth inland paddling trail in Texas.
To celebrate the launch, the City of Bastrop will also host NatureFest, a day-long celebration of the rich outdoor ecosystem that encompasses the Lost Pines Region of Texas. The event will take place at Fisherman’s Park in historic downtown Bastrop, at Willow and Farm, which lies at the heart of the Lost Pines. Admission is $3, children 12 and under are free.
Proceeds will benefit the Bastrop Education Foundation and Environmental Stewardship, a Bastrop-based nonprofit organization whose purposes are to protect, conserve, restore and enhance natural resources.
“Bastrop’s rich natural and cultural heritage make it a great place to visit and live, and the addition of these paddling trails will only add to the appreciation many nature enthusiasts already have for the Lost Pines Region,” said Mayor Tom Scott. “We are honored to be working with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department on a program that will enhance the nature tourist’s knowledge of the Colorado River and its rich history through our historic downtown, our state parks and natural areas and throughout the Lost Pines.”
With the backdrop of the lower Colorado River, the launch ceremonies will begin at 11:00 a.m. with the music of Bill Oliver, “Mr. Habitat,” followed by a few words from TPW Commissioner Margaret Martin and a keynote presentation by Rep. Lloyd Doggett.
El Camino Real Paddling Trail is the first of six potential trails to be designated on the lower Colorado River, and begins where the legendary El Camino Real crossed the lower Colorado River in Bastrop. Next year, the “Wilbarger Creek Paddling Trail,” a 14-mile trail, is planned from FM 969 Utley Bridge to Fisherman’s Park in downtown Bastrop. Future trails include the “Red Bluffs Paddling Trail,” and several more trails downriver to Smithville.
NatureFest is the first annual event in Bastrop celebrating the rich outdoor heritage of the region. Festival-goers will enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including canoe/kayak paddle events, children’s fishing contests, nature hikes, photo scavenger hunts, pony rides, Native American drumming, bug and reptile shows, storytelling, arts & crafts, food and much more. In addition to Texas Parks & Wildlife, other organizations involved include Bastrop and Buescher State Parks, Texas Master Naturalists, LCRA’s McKinney Roughs, Bastrop County Audubon Society, Boy Scouts, Sierra Club, Pines & Prairies Land Trust, and Friends of the Lost Pines States Parks.
Environmental Stewardship is managing the event on behalf of the City of Bastrop. In addition to helping to provide educational resources for the natural sciences department at Bastrop Independent School District, funds raised will also be used to establish additional paddle trails in Bastrop County and develop the Lost Pines Recreational Hike & Bike Trails at the end of the El Camino Real Paddling Trail.
Bastrop’s roots run deep with its historic downtown district, the tranquility of the Colorado River and beautiful view of “The Lost Pines” surroundings. In 1979, the National Register of Historic Places admitted 131 Bastrop buildings and sites to its list, earning Bastrop the title of “Most Historic Small Town in Texas.” In 2007, Bastrop was one of four cities named a “Texas Main Street City.”
With a rich harvest of classic Texas folklore and architecture, downtown Bastrop represents a unique blending of the old and new. Visitors can pass along the old historic Main Street that is lined with century-old structures housing antique shops, specialty stores, galleries and restaurants. One piece of history is the 1889 Bastrop Opera House, which offers an array of entertainment.
While preserving its history, Bastrop offers the tranquility of the Colorado River. Visitors can fish or kayak down the river or have a picnic at Fisherman’s Park. The area is also home to the majestic “Lost Pines” in Bastrop State Park where one can enjoy a leisure hike or drive through miles of pine trees. Take the time to stay at a number of bed-and-breakfast inns or hotels in the area including the newly built Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa. At the resort, families can enjoy golfing, horseback riding, hiking or swimming in addition to its beautiful setting in a pecan grove along the Colorado River.
The Texas Paddling Trails program was created to develop public inland and coastal paddling trails throughout the state and support these trails with maps, signage and other information. The trails provide well-mapped accessible day trips in a variety of settings for all levels of paddling experience. There are currently seven coastal paddling trails in Texas, and the Bastrop trail will be the fourth inland paddling trails, with several communities in the process of applying for participation in the program. Complete information is available on the TPWD Web site.
EDITORS: Kayaks and canoes will be available to the public for $20/person at the event. Thirty-minute introductory floats starting at Bob Bryant Park will be offered at no cost all day long. Members of the public are welcome to bring their own boats; please see the http://www.Environmental-Stewardship.org/NatureFest site for preferred launch sites.
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