New Canoe/Kayak Water Trail Opens at Arkansas Post

Zoie Clift

 

 
A new water trail at Arkansas Post in Gillett just opened as part of
the Arkansas Water Trails program. The project, initiated by the Arkansas Game
& Fish Commission (AGFC) was launched to create a system of water trails
throughout the state.

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, paddling is
one of the fastest growing recreational sports in the nation. And the state is
prime territory for it. Arkansas has more than 90,000 miles of rivers, streams
and bayous.

Heading the program is Kirsten Bartlow, the Watchable
Wildlife Coordinator for AGFC. 
Bartlow dedicated the opening of the trail this weekend by leading a
tour of the new 5-mile water trail.

 

At safe water levels, the bayous of Arkansas Post are
flat-water paddles and a shuttle vehicle is not needed. Vegetation ( like the
many many beautiful and gigantic lily pads we saw on the water) may slow travel
during the summer but paddlers can adjust the route to suite conditions. We
also saw a huge beaver dam, great egrets, many many tiny frogs ( that would jump
in the canoe and hitchhike a ride) and bald cypress, cottonwood, sycamore and
persimmon trees. Other wildlife that make their home their include alligators
but unfortunately we didn’t see one this venture out. ( Yes I want to see one!
From a safe distance of course). 
 
Of note, don’t enter the Arkansas River channel at the south
end of the Arkansas Post National Memorial. The route is blocked off by rocks
for a reason. On our tour a huge barge passed by in the channel, which was a
picturesque sight to see from the water. (But again, best viewed from a safe
distance!) 
 
As to the history of the area, American Indians, European
explorers, hunters and trappers paddled this water. Arkansas Post began in 1686
as French traders bought furs from Quapaw villages. The fur trade drew settlers
through 1819 when Arkansas became a territory. Colbert’s Raid, the only
Revolutionary War battle in Arkansas, occurred here in 1783, and the Civil War
Battle of Arkansas Post was in 1863. 
After paddling, you can continue your adventure by checking out the
nearby Arkansas Post National Memorial and the Arkansas Post Museum.
 
The trailhead is at Moore Bayou Access. To get here from
Highway 65 at Gould, travel east on Highway 212 for 11.8 miles. Turn left on
U.S. Highway 165 and travel 4.3 miles north. Turn right on Highway 169, go 1 mile
east and turn right to Moore Bayou Access. AGFC has partnered with the Army
Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, and the Arkansas Canoe Club for
this water trail.
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