(Bayou Teche, La.)The Bayou Teche Paddle Trail and Cultural and Historical Map has been awarded the Best of Category in the Recreational/Travel Map Category in this years Cartography and Geographic Information Society Map Design Competition held at Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland, this Spring. Notifications were recently sent out. The Louisiana Geological Survey worked with the TECHE Project, a non-profit organization which manages the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail, a US Department of Interior National Water Trail. The map is a 12×30 inch, color, waterproof map with one side depicting the paddle trail and the opposite side focused on the significant cultural and historical aspects of Bayou Teche. “This is a great accomplishment! The judges felt your piece was well-designed and displayed very interesting information in a compelling manner.” said Ian Muehlenhaus, CaGIS Map Competition Coordinator. Cartographer Lisa Pond and GIS Specialist Robert Paulsell are the award recipients. As a result, the map will be entered into Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
“Louisianians are passionate about outdoor recreation. The state’s beautiful landscapes, warm climate and unique ecosystem create a perfect environment for enjoying the great outdoors,” Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne said. “I commend Louisiana Geological Survey’s commitment to making Bayou Teche more accessible to locals and visitors. Congratulations on this prestigious award.”
Bayou Teche is a 135 mile long bayou that runs through 4 parishes; St. Landry, St. Martin, Iberia and St. Mary. In January 2015, it was included in the U.S. Department of Interior National Water System. The TECHE Project manages the water trail which is nestled in the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. “This award showcases the qualities that make Bayou Teche Paddle Trail such an asset to the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area: history, culture and excellence in outdoor recreation, and recognizes the efforts of dedicated volunteers and the value of partnerships.” says Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Director, Debra Credeur.
The TECHE Project was the recipient of the National Park Service Recreation, Trails and Conservation Assistance program and has since been included in the U.S. Department of Interior National Water Trail System. During this time, the TECHE Project worked with citizens, paddlers, local businesses, parish tourism commissioners, the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana and the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area to gather information for the map. The historical and cultural annotations on the map were provided by Dr. Shane K. Bernard, author of the forthcoming book Teche: A History of Louisiana’s Most Famous Bayou. “The Louisiana Geological Survey was great to work with,” says project co-manager and TECHE Project council member Dane Thibodeaux. “We have over 250 years of information to include along 135 miles of bayou. Ms. Pond and Mr. Paulsell did an exceptional job putting the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail on the map and we are proud to share it with the public whether they are paddling the bayou or visiting one of our tourism offices.”
The Bayou Teche Paddle Trail is part of a growing trend in low-impact, nature-based recreation in the state including bicycling, trail-running, hiking and kayaking. “As we move forward to build a low-impact, culture and nature based recreation economy in Acadiana, we are pleased to make an award-winning map part of the suite of tools and products for users, planners, local businesses, and tourism professionals”, says TECHE Project Executive Director, Conni Castille.
Maps can be found at Cajun Paddle in Breaux Bridge, Pack & Paddle in Lafayette, Le Vieux Village Tourist Information Center in Opelousas, Iberia Chamber of Commerce in New Iberia and at https://techeproject.org/bayou-teche-paddle-trail/map/. Visit Louisiana Geological Survey on-line map repository at http://www.lgs.lsu.edu/.