The Gulf of Mexico Alliance has recognized 2020 as the “Year to Embrace the Gulf” and acknowledge the Gulf of Mexico’s importance to the nation. The Gulf of Mexico is bordered by five Gulf Coast states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas; and the Gulf region contributes to the nation’s economy, security, energy, environment, heritage, beauty, diversity, and resilience.
The Gulf of Mexico’s watershed covers more than half of the continental United States, and the Mississippi River drains more than one-third of the nation. This watershed is characterized with diverse flora and fauna, provides food, shelter and habitat to marine and estuarine organisms, shorebirds, waterfowl and wildlife, and the Gulf Coast supports our nation’s seafood industry through commercial fishing. The Gulf also provides recreational adventures, such as sailing, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and fishing.
The TECHE Project is proud to be a part of this important initiative. The Bayou Teche Paddle Trail runs 135 miles through four parishes and connects with the Gulf of Mexico through the Lower Atchafalaya River. It has a total of 13 established access points that provide access to paddle trips as short as 7 miles or as long as its 135 miles. Each town along the Teche offers its own personality and experiences that include architecture, agriculture, foodways, music and arts.
Likewise, the Gulf Coast region is one of the most culturally diverse regions in the nation with millions of residents tracing their heritage to Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, and the Gulf Coast embraces a variety of traditions and invokes a strong sense of place. It also plays a vital role in our nation’s defense and aerospace exploration; moreover, it is crucial to oil, gas and energy production, as well as import and export trade.
Gulf Coast tourism generates hundreds of billions of dollars each year, and if the Gulf area were a country, our economy would rank among the top 10 worldwide. By increasing awareness of the Gulf of Mexico’s many treasures and limitless value, we ensure a sustainable future.
Please help us in embracing the Gulf—and Bayou Teche—throughout 2020!