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April 29, 2009

Limestone Bluffs Paddling Trail to be Dedicated May 2

GROESBECK, Texas — The first Texas Paddling Trail anchored by a state historic site will officially open May 2 with a 10 a.m. dedication at the Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site between Groesbeck and Mexia.

The Limestone Bluffs Paddling Trail covers 5.18 miles of quiet water on the Navasota River from the Confederate Reunion Grounds to Fort Parker State Park. The route is characterized by hardwood bottomlands and limestone bluffs, and wildlife such as waterfowl, beavers and white-tailed deer are commonly seen.

Located between Interstate Highway 35 and Interstate Highway 45, the state’s newest paddling trail offers easy access from Waco and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and easy paddling, with no portages or whitewater.

"This is really a perfect family paddling trail," said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Nature Tourism Coordinator Shelly Plante. "It’s a beautiful, tranquil paddle in an area rich in history."

The City of Groesbeck, The Texas Historical Commission and TPWD partnered to designate the paddling trail, the state’s 17th.

"We’re very pleased to offer folks another reason to come to Limestone County," said Fort Parker State Park Superintendent Tom Fisher. "In addition to beautiful scenery and some fascinating history, we have some excellent fishing here for white bass, largemouth bass and crappie."

For the Limestone Bluffs Paddling Trail launch May 2, the $2 entry fee to the Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site will still apply, though children are admitted for free. Activities will include an introduction to the Texas Paddling Trails program by Ron Smith of TPWD’s Inland Fisheries Division at 10 a.m. Outdoor retailer Gander Mountain will provide canoes and kayaks to demonstrate safe paddling techniques, and at 11 a.m. a guided paddle down the Navasota River will begin.

Canoe and kayaks are available for rent at Fort Parker State Park, and rental canoe shuttles are available at 10 a.m. daily.

The paddle can be completed in 2 to 3.5 hours, depending on water levels and flows, according to Fisher.

For more information about the Limestone Bluffs Paddling Trail, please visit the Texas Paddling Trails Web site.

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