Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a map for the trail?
Yes. 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 on our website here.
Can I rent a boat or kayak?
Yes. You can rent a boat with shuttle service from this outfitter on Bayou Teche: Bayou Teche Experience, 317 E. Bridge St., Breaux Bridge, or by calling 337-366-0337. Boats can also be rented from these outfitters in Lafayette: Pack & Paddle (337-232-5854) and The Backpacker (337-406-8754).
Where are access docks located?
The TECHE Project has six dock sites, with six more coming soon. Breaux Bridge represents our first full-service trailhead, but other sites are located in city parks or at city boat launches with additional facilities. Find the full list here.
How did the Bayou Teche become a National Water Trail?
It happened in two phases.
In 2010, The TECHE Project applied for and received technical support from the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program to write the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail plan with residents, local, state and federal governments, the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana, recreation groups, small businesses and tourism officials. The plan was accepted by the National Park Service in 2012 and is available to view here. The plan is community-driven and will be reviewed and revised every five years.
After the plan was accepted by the National Park Service, The TECHE Project submitted an application in 2013 to be considered for inclusion in the National Water Trail System.
The Bayou Teche is now number 17 in the National Water Trail System and joins the Chattahoochee River in Georgia, Waccamaw River in South Carolina, Alabama River in Alabama, among others throughout the nation.
Does the National Park Service own Bayou Teche now?
No. Nor do they manage it. The National Water Trail System is part of the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, a voluntary, non-regulatory program that provides National Park Service planning and promotional assistance to the public.
Who manages the trail?
The TECHE Project manages the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail, which is now a National Water Trail. We manage the official plan, map, website and logo and assist our communities and local businesses in designing infrastructure for improved access and promotion of the paddle trail.
Bayou Teche remains under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries that regulates many activities on state waters, including Bayou Teche. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will continue to regulate all structures in navigable waters (within channel banks) and all earth-moving activities in wetlands adjacent to the bank of Bayou Teche. Towns and parishes own and/or will continue to manage all publicly accessible parks where access points and trailheads for the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail are located.
I own a business on the Teche. Will this status affect me?
If you own a business that does, or can, serve paddlers, we sure hope so! We want to see paddlers frequent your shops, groceries, restaurants, bed & breakfasts, museums, etc. The TECHE Project hosts Trail Mix once per year for recreation planners, business owners and tourism officials in the Bayou Teche Corridor. We are also creating a business hub for local businesses that benefit from the BTPT under the leadership of Cajun Paddle, a livery service in Breaux Bridge. Please see this website for more information about economic benefits of recreation: http://www.americantrails.org/resources/economics/economic-benefits-trails-macdonald.html
The National Water Trail System is not regulatory and will not require additional discharge or building permits beyond what the state already requires.
I am an agriculture producer. Will this status affect my farm?
No. The National Water Trail System is not regulatory. State agencies will continue to regulate or monitor agriculture production and runoff. A paddle trail can benefit the growing field of “agriculture tourism” and showcase the history of agriculture and sugar cane production in the Bayou Teche watershed.
I own a home or property on Bayou Teche. Will this status affect my property?
Yes. In two foreseeable ways: You will likely see an increase in kayak/canoe and pirogue traffic. Be sure to wave and ask “where you from?” Paddlers are generally good stewards of the land and respect private property. Maps indicating designated rest areas and put-in and take-out points are available here and at selected retailers, tourism offices and/or kiosks. Additionally, you may see an increase in your property value in the future. Homes have shown a gain in value based on the near proximity to low-impact recreation trails. Please see this website for more information about property values and recreation trails: http://atfiles.org/files/pdf/NPSecon1.pdf
The National Water Trail System is not regulatory and will not require additional septic tank permits or requirements beyond what the state already requires.
What other programs are affiliated with the National Park Service in our area?
The Atchafalaya National Heritage Area includes the 14 parishes in and around the Atchafalaya Basin. It promotes cultural and nature-based tourism and is managed by the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and receives planning and promotion assistance from the National Park Service. The National Register of Historic Places, a program of the National Park Service, boasts dozens of buildings in the Bayou Teche Corridor, including Shadows-on-the-Teche in New Iberia.
Find more information about the National Water Trail System here: http://www.nps.gov/WaterTrails/.