This was a special paddle trip in support of our Atchafalaya Basinkeeper’s work. It included a paddle, short talks on the water, a fish fry and a membership with the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper. Most of the group met Dean Wilson, the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, and I at Pack & Paddle, while others met us at our put-in point. Sometimes there is confusion as to where we are meeting for this particular trip, today was no exception.
We meet at the Bayou Benoit Boat Landing parking area, which is not across the levee where the boat landing is. We launch our boats into Bayou Amie right off of the bank, there is no boat launch here. Once we all got situated and dropped all boats off, drivers shuttled cars to Lake Fausse Point State Park.
Once we got on the water, we paddled through a small waterway toward Lake Dauterive. We took a short break to explain to everyone what the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper is: a non-profit organization like other basinkeepers, riverkeepers, coastkeepers, bayoukeeprs, lakekeeper, baykeeper, etc. which are part of and follow stringent guidelines set forth by the Waterkeepers Alliance, a worldwide organization.
When we arrived on Lake Dauterive, I thought we may have to leave a couple of boats behind, seeing as how they were so engrossed in photographing the unbelievably beautiful cypress. Some of the trunks are twisted above, some have great large and small peep holes through hollow trunks, there are amazing designs seen within the trees, their trunks and their knees totally lending itself to getting lost in its spell.
We stopped again, within the cypress to share some of the issues we are facing in coastal Louisiana, especially in our Atchafalaya Swamp and what our Basinkeeper is doing about it. From illegal pollution, to illegal harvesting of cypress to use as mulch to roads being illegally built in the swamp impeding water flow from North to South and keeping commercial and recreational fishermen from access on public waterways.
We all want the Atchafalaya Swamp to be around many more lifetimes, without the help of all of us who enjoy the outdoors we run the risk of losing this beautiful, mysterious place and more.
Our group seemed to have a good understanding of the part we can play in preserving these wonderful places as was witnessed by our conversations as we made our way to Lake Fausse Point for some of Dean’s wonderful fried fish especially picked out just for us. Folks hung around for a long time, just like we were old friends reconnecting.
-Stacey Scarce, Trip Leader