On Wednesday the Department of the Interior named Bayou Teche paddle trail to the National Water Trails System.
The Bayou Teche paddle trail is now one of 18 in the United States and the first in Louisiana to be named to the National Water Trails System.
Breaux Bridge native Conni Castille grew up swimming in Bayou Teche and says, “I actually jumped off that bridge I probably shouldn’t have.”
Now she’s the Executive Director of the TECHE Project, a nonprofit group that raises awareness of the Bayou’s value. When the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail was named to the National Water Trails System, Castille saw it as an opportunity for tourism.
“People that are interested in low impact recreation those that want to be on the water, paddle whether they’re kayaking or canoeing so our job is to just make things more comfortable for them make them more accessible so they can get in and out of the bayou easier.”
It’s not just about economic development. Castille hopes the paddle trail’s national recognition will encourage more people to enjoy with Louisiana being another way for them to come and experience our beautiful culture and landscape.The culture and scenery brought California native Cory Werk to Bayou Teche two years ago. Werk grew up visiting family in Louisiana and considers it his second home.
Werk says, “As a young kid I remember the live oaks I remember the swamps I’m going fishing with my cousins and I’ve always liked it.”
Werk is a tour guide and runs Bayou Teche experience, a kayak shop in Breaux Bridge. He hopes the national recognition will bring Bayou Teche the attention it deserves as a natural paddle trail and cultural experience. From California to Louisiana, Werk can’t imagine being anywhere else.
The Bayou Teche designation as a national water trail will not impose regulations to bayou side property owners.