New Paddling Routes Added to Arkansas Water Trails


Zoie Clift


Do you know about the
Arkansas Water Trails program? If not, below is an article I wrote on the
project that highlights the program and some updates in the works. Enjoy!


The aim of Arkansas Water
Trails, a program initiated by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AGFC),
is to highlight Arkansas as prime paddling territory. The project is at the
forefront of creating a system of water trails throughout the state.


So what exactly is a water
trail? “A lot of times people think it’s a trail along the water,” said Kirsten
Bartlow, director of the program and Watchable Wildlife Coordinator for AGFC.
“It’s kind of a new concept. Some states call them blue trails, some call them paddle
trails. Basically it’s paddling some kind of riverway or bayou. And it’s such a
great way to view wildlife. We can be so much quieter in a boat. And really
ease up on wildlife. Hiking, you might make a lot of noise on the rocks or
crunching through the leaves. Also you can paddle in the heat of summer…it
opens up a longer season for folks to get outside.” 


Trails are added to the
program, which was created in 2009, as site assessments are completed and maps
developed. According to Bartlow, unlike hiking or biking trails that have to be
built, water routes are already there and “our job is to get the infrastructure
in place.” This includes providing route signs and maps for the trail. Once a
route is part of the program, “we need people to be the eyes and ears of the
trail,” she said. “We want the communities to be involved

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