Paddlers now have another reason to experience one of Texas’ wildest and most scenic rivers by traversing the latest addition to the Texas Paddling Trail system – the Cherokee Neches Paddling Trail. The public is invited to a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the trail at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct.17.
The new trail, which runs along a wildlife-rich stretch of the Neches River in East Texas, is the result of a partnership between the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Other partners, including Neches River Run Park, the Texas Conservation Alliance and Friends of the Neches River, will host the launch event at the trail’s put-in location in Neches River Run Park.
From its put-in location, the trail continues for 6.6 miles downstream to the U.S. Highway 79 take-out location. The trail will take the average paddler three to five hours, depending on the river’s water level and flow rate.
Paddlers along the trail will encounter no manmade structures, but they will have to watch for snags during low river flow. This section of the Neches River includes quiet pools and small riffles and is readily influenced by rainfall runoff.
Informational kiosks about the Cherokee Neches Trail have been placed at the put-in and take-out locations, detailing a map of the trail route, points of interest and what plant and animal life paddlers may encounter. Because this riparian corridor of the Neches River supports a great diversity of plant and animal life, paddlers can expect to see kingfishers, river otter, beaver, turtles and the occasional alligator, as well as bald eagles, migratory waterfowl and songbirds attracted to the pristine hardwood forest. Anglers can cast for several species of gar, channel catfish, drum and spotted Kentucky bass.
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, kayaking and canoeing are the fastest growing segments in outdoor recreation. With the addition of the Cherokee Neches Trail to the Texas Paddling Trail system, Texans have yet another opportunity to launch their kayaks or canoes into the water and explore the great Texas outdoors, this time along the historic Neches River.
For more information about the event, call the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce at 903-586-2217 or go to www.jacksonvilletexas.com. To reserve a rental canoe or arrange transportation if you have your own boat, contact Neches River Run Park at www.riverrunpark.com or 903-724-4100.
For more information about the Cherokee Neches Paddling Trail, visit the TPWD paddling trail website. To view digital images of the Cherokee Neches Paddling Trail, click here.