"We have great cultural entertainment each night with the Cajun Music Preservation Society on Thursday night, Mr. Kerry Thibodaux on Friday night, and the United Houma Nation’s providing a great end to our trip.”

Registration is now open for the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) 2019 Paddle Bayou Lafourche event. BTNEP wants to invite residents and visitors from all over the country to travel down the waters of Bayou Lafourche and learn about the culture and heritage that goes along with it.

BTNEP started Paddle Bayou Lafourche as an innovative approach to educate residents and visitors about the culture and ecology of Bayou Lafourche, as well as the coastal restoration needs of the area and potential solutions. In partnership with BTNEP, Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District (BLFWD), Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary Foundation (BTEF), and Friends of Bayou Lafourche, all share a common goal of bringing clean water to the local community, as well as encouraging locals to explore the recreational resources Bayou Lafourche offers.

“Paddle Bayou Lafourche is a great way for visitors as well as locals to experience the recreational opportunities along a large portion of Bayou Lafourche. Participants are also given a unique opportunity to experience first-hand the critical role that the bayou plays for our region relative to economic impact, history, and transportation. With Bayou Lafourche being a source of drinking water for over 300,000 people, we completely support programs such as Paddle Bayou Lafourche which create an awareness and a need to keep our bayou clean and free of invasive species and litter.” said Ryan Perque, Executive Director of Friends of Bayou Lafourche.

The 50-mile, three-day paddling trip down the bayou begins Thursday, April 11, in Donaldsonville, and ends in Raceland on Saturday, April 13. Paddlers can participate one day or all three days of the trip. Participants will be treated not only to scenic natural vistas, but also to a fascinating backyard view of the bayou from the water’s perspective while enjoying camaraderie, food, music, and fun. Paddlers will get a firsthand look at the restoration work being conducted along the bayou, along with a taste of local cuisine, and entertainment every night in a campsite setting. Participants will also receive a souvenir t-shirt, water, and healthy snacks throughout the day. The trip cost is $50.00 per day, or $150.00 for all three days without a canoe rental. The cost for paddlers renting a canoe is $70.00 per day, or $210.00 for all three days. Canoe rentals are available in a limited supply and preregistration is required.

Local residents not wanting to paddle can also join in the experience by supporting the event from the banks of Bayou Lafourche. Locals are invited to decorate their bayou side and provide signs of encouragement and welcome to our bayou visitors. In the past, visitors have been greeted with local music and cheers as the paddlers coasted down the bayou.

According to Nicole Babin, Paddle Bayou Lafourche Project Manager, “I’m very excited to be leading this year’s trip. We hope the paddlers will learn more about our estuary and understand that the primary reason we do this trip to draw attention to the fact that people in our region get their drinking water from surface water like Bayou Lafourche.  This year will be fun, too!  We have great cultural entertainment each night with the Cajun Music Preservation Society on Thursday night, Mr. Kerry Thibodaux on Friday night, and the United Houma Nation’s providing a great end to our trip.” 

Babin also notes, “It is easy to register. Paddlers can go online at www.BTNEP.org and there is a registration link right on the front page.”

Paddlers can register by completing the registration form at www.BTNEP.org, by calling 985-447-0868, or by emailing Nicole Babin at Nicole@BTNEP.org for registration instructions. Please visit the website for more information.

Contributed by BTNEP