Are you interested in blueways/paddling/kayaking?  If so, please join the luncheon at the GOMA All Hands meeting on Wednesday (June 13) from noon until 1:30 in room HTC3. There will be a discussion to develop a regional partnership to connect and expand bluewater trails in the Gulf of Mexico and the potential for a “five state paddle” event to celebrate and embrace the Gulf in 2020.

For the past couple of years Alabama, Florida, The Nature Conservancy, and others worked together to create a bluewater trail in the Perdido, Florida Watershed. This work resulted in the Perdido River designation as a priority paddle trail by the Florida Greenways and Trails and the creation of a network of launches and shelters (some proposed) that allow outdoor enthusiasts to paddle and camp over 90 miles. On the Alabama side, the state developed the same type of trail named the Perdido River Canoe Trail. With these two projects, the journey spans more than two-thirds of the FL/AL state line and provides paddlers with a unique perspective of the watershed. It takes you to a swift flowing pristine blackwater river, a bay bordered by several state and local parks to help preserve its beauty, the emerald green Gulf of Mexico. Because of this work, a Florida-based non-profit paddle group is planning a five-day adventure to be held in 2019. Based on the success of this effort, including both a boost to local ecotourism as well as the opportunity to educate paddlers about the connection between the river, bay and Gulf; AL and TNC have organized the lunch to discuss expanding this effort to the entire Gulf of Mexico region. Please plan on attending to consider developing a regional partnership to connect and expand bluewater trails in the Gulf of Mexico and the potential for a “five state paddle” event in 2020.

Organizers Include:

Darryl Boudreau, Watershed Coordinator, The Nature Conservancy
Phillip Hinesley, Nature Tourism Specialist, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant
Rhonda Price, Deputy Director, Office of Restoration and Resiliency, MS Dept. of Marine Resources
Becky Allee, PhD, Senior Scientist, NOAA Office for Coastal Management

RSVP to Phillip Hinesley phinesley@gulfshores.com by June 1 – lunch will be Dutch Treat.

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Draft Agenda

12 – 12:15 Welcome and Introductions (Darryl)

  • Welcome everyone and have attendees introduce themselves/organization
  • Introduce the session and what we are trying to accomplish using the Perdido project as an example
    • Spur regional ecotourism
    • Raise awareness of watershed connection to the Gulf

12:15 – 12:30       AL Paddle Trail Development (Phillip)
12:30 – 12:45       Paddle the Gulf Project (Becky)
12:45 – 1:10         Paddle Florida Presentation (Bill)
1:10 – 1:30           Discussion: Create Gulf Bluewater Trail Partnership (Phillip & Darryl)

  • Is there interest?
  • If so, what are short-term goals (2020 event, regional ecotourism brochure, etc.)
  • Next Steps
    • Identify lead contacts
    • Potential organization for group

Blueways Trail Luncheon – 2018 All Hands – Wednesday, June 13, 2018 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Room HTC3
RSVP Phillip Hinesley
phinesley@gulfshores.com by June 1st – Lunch is Dutch Treat
For complete 2018 All Hands information review the dedicated webpage.