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April 30, 2009
Downtown Austin Paddling Trail to be Launched May 6
AUSTIN, Texas — One of the jewels of Austin’s urban green space is about to get brighter. Lady Bird Lake will be officially recognized as the 18th Texas Paddling Trail in a ceremony Wednesday, May 6, at the Texas Rowing Center adjacent to Austin High School.
Lady Bird Lake (formerly known as Town Lake) is a major recreation area for the city of Austin. Its banks are bounded by the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, and numerous local businesses offer easy access to the water via canoe, kayak, rowing and other recreational watercraft services along the trails. Additionally, Austin’s largest downtown park, Zilker Park, the Splash! Exhibit, Nature and Science Center and the Botanical Gardens are adjacent to the lake, and Barton Springs Pool, a major attraction for swimmers, flows into the lake.
The Lady Bird Lake Paddling Trail is approximately 11 miles long and features multiple public access sites and recreational opportunities. The Lady Bird Lake Paddling Trail provides an excellent venue for the novice and experienced paddler alike.
"The Texas Paddling Trail program is designed to create access for paddlers on waterways throughout the state," said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Nature Tourism Coordinator Shelly Plante. "We want all Texans, as well as visitors, to realize that life’s better outside. The Lady Bird Lake Paddling Trail creates wonderful outdoor opportunities for everyone and it’s right here in our state capital."
"The Lady Bird Lake Paddling Trail is 100% accessible to 100% of our population, we’re proud of that," said Sara Hensley, City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department director "What a wonderful way to recreate in our beautiful city."
Because the lake is located on a regularly scheduled Capital Metro route, it provides a great urban getaway for everyone, especially young families on a budget.
"Imagine a young family getting on a bus, renting a canoe and paddling up to Barton Springs Pool, having a refreshing swim, a quick lunch at the snack bar, a ride on the Zilker Zephyr and then a paddle back and a bus ride home," Hensley said. "That’s a "vacation" that children will truly remember and it’s affordable, accessible and a healthy outdoor activity."
Several kiosks with paddling information, a map of the paddling trail and suggested routes will be placed at access points around the Lake.
For more information on the Texas Paddling Trails program, please visit the TPWD Web site.
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