Paddling, canoeing workshop set for June 9-10 in Vidalia

Mary Ann Van Osdell, Hatch, Dora Ann

News Release Distributed 04/13/11

The LSU AgCenter will conduct a two-day workshop at the Vidalia Conference Center June 9-10 for entrepreneurs interested in business opportunities related to paddling and canoeing.

The workshop will inform landowners, communities and entrepreneurs about the potential diversifying farming operations through using waterways and federal and state recreation areas to include paddling, said Dora Ann Hatch, LSU AgCenter agritourism coordinator.

Participants will learn how to manage land resources and about liability and legal considerations, marketing and business management related to water recreation, Hatch said.

“Communities throughout the United States that have developed paddling trails have witnessed economic and social impacts,” she said. “Economically, paddling trails help diversify the economy by offering landowners more options for their land use.”

Paddlers typically spend $27 to $63 per day, Hatch said.

“Socially, paddling improves the quality of life issues in communities through stewardship and healthy lifestyles,” she said.

The workshop will include morning classroom sessions and an afternoon trip to Monterey Delta, a diverse, 4,000-acre farm with six miles of Bayou Cocodrie running through the property. The farm produces rice, soybeans, cotton, corn and crawfish. During the trip, participants will learn about waterfowl, native plants, crawfishing, birding and pond management.

On the second afternoon, John Ruskey, a river guide and canoe builder with the Quapaw Canoe Co. in Clarksdale, Miss., will offer an optional field trip to canoe in nearby waters. His company provides guided expeditions by kayak, canoe and stand-up paddle boards on the Lower Mississippi River and some of its tributaries.

The LSU AgCenter has received a $115,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to facilitate efforts to make the northeast Louisiana Mississippi River parishes a nature tourism destination based on unexploited natural resources and has formed an ecotourism advisory group in northeast Louisiana, Hatch said.

Workshop sponsors include the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State University Extension Service, the U.S. EPA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.

Registration is $50 for one day and $75 for both days. The optional canoe trip is an additional $25. For more information, contact Hatch at 318-927-9654 or

Registration is available online at and clicking on the Online Store button on the front page.

Mary Ann Van Osdell

4/13/2011 6:26:21 PM
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