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Houston, Texas

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HomeNL-2011-04_In the News
In the News

A selection of paddling-related news stories.

"From gentle stream to junk laden-mess"

"Running low and slow, appealingly clean and green, Buffalo Bayou seems almost postcard perfect as it rounds a bend near Voss Road on the city's west side. A bit of wilderness in the city's heart, it's easy to understand why the state parks department named it Houston's first paddling trail. All good things, though, must end.

"Bering Ditch is where the good bayou ends.

"Originating in densely packed neighborhoods on the southwest side, the concrete-lined drainage ditch's sediment-laden stream stains the emerald bayou brown. When charged with storm runoff, it vomits fountains of junk — tires, cans, plastic bags by the hundreds, shopping carts by the score — into the Bayou City's signature waterway.

"On Monday, workers from Houston's Bayou Preservation Association, armed with shovels and togged in heavy boots and waterproof waders, sloshed into what they call the "shopping cart graveyard" in an effort to remediate decades of neglect. So severe has the problem become, said association spokesman Eric Ruckstuhl, that castoff carts and the sandbars they anchor have transformed this stretch of waterway into an obstacle course for canoeists..."

Complete story:

"Beautifying Buffalo Bayou"

"A local nonprofit hopes its $55 million plan to overhaul 158 acres of parkland along Buffalo Bayou west of downtown will transform the area into an iconic green space for Houston.

"The Buffalo Bayou Partnership's plan calls for extensive upgrades along the bayou between Shepherd and Sabine, intended to improve aesthetics, attract more visitors and reduce the risk of flooding.

"The plan will reach City Council this week and Commissioners Court later this month. These expected nods of approval will start talks on final details, to be fleshed out in the coming months.

"Construction is expected to start in mid-2012 and take three years..."

Complete story:

"Looking for what's left of Camp Logan"
Houston Canoe Club's Louis Aulbach appeared recently in the Houston Chronicle showing the remnants of WWI Camp Logan in the woods of Memorial Park to fellow members John Rich, Linda Gorski, Dana Enos, Robert Killian and others.
Story: "Looking for what's left of Camp Logan"

"Urban Paddling Trails"
In the December, 2010, issue of WaterLine, there was a story titled "Lights! Camera! Action!", about a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department TV segment being produced on urban paddling trails, featuring some Houston Canoe Club and Bayou Preservation Assoc. members on Buffalo Bayou.  Bob Arthur reports that all but about two minutes of that video footage was left on the cutting room floor.  But the final result can now be viewed on YouTube.  The Buffalo Bayou portion begins about 1:40 into the video, and features Bob Arthur of HCC, and Betty Leite from the BPA.

"Paddle On!"

"Dozens of trails make it easier for paddlers to glide through bays or cruise down rivers.

"TPWD’s paddling trails are intended to make it as easy as possible for even novice paddlers to enjoy the state’s waterways...

"2010 was a record year for paddling trails, with eight new trails established. They have been embraced by paddlers, communities and outfitters. And more trails are on the way..."

Complete story:

HCC member Paul Woodcock proposes that the club lead a paddle event on these trails, one per month, and then write a trip report on each for the newsletter.

Bad News at Broken Bow Rapid

The subject title may sound like a good book title for a Louis L'Amour novel about the old west, but this item concerns us paddlers.  From the CanoeTX internet list server, comes this note of interest to paddlers who frequent the San Marcos River:
"My heart got broken (again) today. 5 of us paddled the San Marcos and found a major problem at Broken Bow rapid. As all of you picture in your minds the gravel beach on river left just after the drop let me tell you it does not look like that anymore. The large cypress that puts out all of the root system that creates all of the swaying benches that we have sat on while eating our lunches has been damaged severely. About 8-10 feet off of the ground is where the tree divides into 3 main trunks. The center one has the "Private Property" sign on it. Someone set fires in the crotches of this split in the trunk and the 3 stems each acted like their own chimney. The downstream trunk is laying along the bank blocking most of the access to the bank from the river. The center one, with the sign, is still vertical but severely hollowed out by fire and I doubt it will stand long. The most upstream trunk is now a significant hazard to navigation. On river-left it is still attached about 20 feet above grade. The other end is in the swift-water against river-right just down-stream of the main eddy on that side. As water levels rise it will become a major problem for boaters. There was one saw cut to a branch from this trunk that indicated that someone is aware of the problem. I spent a little time talking with Josh Diaz De Leon when I passed his place and he is willing to help me try to work on the trunk in the water to see if we can ameliorate the problem. We are unaware of how we could drive to the site. We would appreciate any insight and helpful massaging of local property owners to allow us to get to the site with some tools. We are hoping for a Monday or Tuesday of next week to take on the job. If any of you can get Josh the boots-on-the-ground info on how to access the place we will have a fighting chance of making this thing safer. We can never make it better. This ought to be a crime."