STAR CITY (AGFC) – Come out for a float on the world's longest bayou as the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Cane Creek State Park dedicate Bayou Bartholomew Water Trail at 10 a.m., this Saturday at the AGFC access on the end of Gateway Road in Lincoln County.
As part of the dedication, interpreters from the park will offer free guided floats on the trail at 10 a.m. and at noon to give visitors the full experience of gliding on the water while learning about the region's wildlife and history.
Bayou Bartholomew winds 359 river miles from Pine Bluff to the Ouachita River in Sterlington, Louisiana. This length made it one of the most important waterways in the interior Delta for trade and transportation during the 1800s. It originally was formed when the Arkansas River gradually moved east and left its old riverbed behind.
Bartlow hopes the addition of the water trail will draw some added attention for watchable wildlife opportunities in Arkansas's delta region.
"There are a lot of avid hunters, anglers and birders that know about the bayou, but paddling can be overlooked in this part of the state," Bartlow said. "We hope this will give more attention to the area and get some new users of this unique resource."
The latest Arkansas Water Trail has three major access points – one in Pine Bluff, one at Cane Creek State Park and one at Little Bayou Wildlife Management Area in Ashley County. In addition to fantastic fishing, the trail offers an excellent opportunity to view many types of wildlife.
"We've designated these three access points because they're easier to get to, and have all sorts of migrating songbirds and native wildlife, such as alligators, for people to view as they enjoy a float," said Kirsten Bartlow, AGFC watchable wildlife coordinator.
Bartlow says each designated access point also has added draws for visitors to experience before and after their float.
"The access in Pine Bluff has the (Gov. Mike Huckabee) Delta Rivers Nature Center and Byrd Lake Trail, which is an excellent watchable wildlife destination," Bartlow said. "You have the state park at the Cane Creek Access, and Little Bayou WMA offers some interesting wildlife opportunities at that access."
Bartlow is particularly excited about the partnership with the state park for this water trail.
"You need a canoe or kayak to enjoy our water trails, and the state park has rentals available as well as guided tours," Bartlow said. "That removes the only real obstacle to getting out and enjoying these sorts of floats. This has project is the result of an excellent partnership."