FROM THE TPWD NEWS WIRE
AUSTIN – Paddlers and nature tourists will soon be able to enjoy everything from a relaxing journey down a shaded creek or across a wildlife-rich wetlands pond to a wide-open paddle across a placid lake or an exciting run of Trinity River “whitewater” within view of the Dallas skyline when seven new Texas Paddling Trails open on May 10 throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in partnership with north Texas communities will host seven events on Tuesday, May 10, beginning with an 8 a.m. kickoff of the Walnut Creek Paddling Trail on Joe Pool Lake in Grand Prairie. Other paddling trail launch events will take place throughout the day in Arlington, Bridgeport, Dallas, Lewisville and Rowlett, culminating with a 5 p.m. final trail opening ceremony at Runaway Bay on Lake Bridgeport in Wise County.
“These trails represent what is simply the biggest water park in Texas, showcasing some of the state’s most remarkable natural areas convenient to our growing urban population,” says Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s executive director. “Their opening reinforces the crucial message that travel matters to all Texans and our communities that depend on tourism dollars.”
With a grand total of 57 miles of paddling trails, including the 11-mile Lake Arlington Paddling Trail that launched in 2008, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex will offer tourists yet another way to visit and enjoy the outdoors. By offering these new nature tourism opportunities in addition to the fine dining, shopping and historical and cultural tourism attractions, the DFW area has even more to offer tourists.
“The DFW area paddling trails represent the largest concentration of official Texas Paddling Trails in the state,” says Shelly Plante, TPWD’s nature tourism manager. “As a celebration of Texas Travel Rally Day, which recognizes the value of the tourism industry to the state’s economy and quality of life, this is also the most trails we’ve ever launched on a single day. We hope the public can join us in the celebration.”
The new trails are scattered throughout four counties. They incorporate the waters of Lake Bridgeport, Lake Ray Hubbard and Joe Pool Lake; the Trinity River and its West Fork; Boons, Bed, Willow and Walnut creeks; and a beaver pond located just below Lake Lewisville Dam near the confluence of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River.
The May 10 trail launch events are as follows:
8 a.m. Walnut Creek Paddling Trail (Joe Pool Lake), Grand Prairie – This 4.9 mile trail in Loyd Park crosses a bit of open water, goes past two islands and up the winding, shaded waters of Walnut Creek. It offers excellent opportunities to catch some fish and see herons, osprey, hawks, bobcats, beavers, coyotes, turtles, frogs and other wildlife.
10 a.m. River Legacy Parks Paddling Trail (West Fork of the Trinity), Arlington – This portion of the Trinity River, uninterrupted by manmade obstructions and still flowing in its natural state, provides a quiet and scenic float through the middle of the Metroplex. The paddling trip can be customized for a lengthy day adventure or a quick out and back from the River Legacy Parks launch. Future access launches are being planned to enhance the paddling experience. Look for herons, eagles, egrets, kingfishers, turtles, bobcats and other wildlife along the way.
10:30 a.m. Dallas Trinity Paddling Trail (Trinity River), Dallas – Put in for this 10-mile river trail is the Sylvan Boat Launch in Trammell Crow Park in the heart of Big D. Paddlers leave the cityscape portion of the trail, passing beneath the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge designed by a renowned Spanish architect, and continue into the 6,000 acres of the Great Trinity Forest. Paddlers can tackle the new Dallas Wave whitewater area or skirt it through the calm bypass. The trail features special signage, maps and kiosk information at the put-in point, the Dallas Wave and takeout at the Loop 12 Boat Launch.
1 p.m. Paddle Point Creek Paddling Trail (Lake Ray Hubbard), Rowlett – Enjoy the variety of water and scenery on beautiful Lake Ray Hubbard, just 15 minutes east of downtown Dallas. Protected from wind on all sides, this 6.4-mile lake trail is home to a dozen great blue herons that nest within sight of Highway 66. The paddle trail has abundant schools of black bass, sand bass and hybrid bass for the anglers. Paddlers can experience history as they paddle to the old Highway 66 Bridge, which is partially submerged by Lake Ray Hubbard.
3 p.m. Bridgeport Falls Paddling Trail (West Fork of the Trinity), Bridgeport – A lush canopy of native trees and aquatic vegetation exists along this scenic, 5-mile loop trail located just above a weir dam. Paddle along sandy banks with occasional sandstone outcroppings, keeping a watch for deer, turkey, herons, owls, turtles, beavers and other critters.
3:30 p.m. Beaver Pond Paddling Trail (Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area Beaver Pond), Lewisville – This one-mile trail loops through a wetlands wildlife magnet, offering glimpses of beaver, of course, as well as herons, ducks, deer, frogs, turtles and other wildlife living amid the shady willow thickets, rafts of water lilies and other aquatic vegetation. Especially well-suited for novice paddlers and youngsters, the trail includes 12 stops at interpretive signs.
5 p.m. Chupacabra Point Paddling Trail (Lake Bridgeport & Boons, Willow and Coal Bed Creeks (Runaway Bay) – Comprised of three mini-trails about four miles each in length, this paddling trail will keep you happily engaged for hours. Each creek offers a unique environment featuring a variety of wildlife, native trees and riparian vegetation.
The seven paddling trail dedications occurring throughout the Metroplex are just some of the many travel-related events taking place throughout Texas as part of Texas Travel Rally Day designated by Gov. Rick Perry in honor of U. S. Travel Rally Day. U. S. Travel Rally Day is sponsored by the U. S. Travel Association, and occurs during National Travel and Tourism Week.
Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Texas Paddling Trails program provides increased recreational access to Texas rivers, bays and lakes while helping to promote habitat conservation through sustainable economic development. The program began in 1998 and with the addition of the DFW-area trails now offers tourists and Texans 33 paddling trails statewide with more being added every day. More Americans paddle (canoe, kayak or raft) than play soccer, making it one of the fastest-growing nature tourism experiences in the nation.