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"After we launched El Camino Real in 2007, we had about 1,400 people go down that trail the first year," she said. "Last year, when we launched Wilbarger, we put about 3,200 people on the river. That doesn't count all the people who are coming and bringing their own boats. It's been incredible for our community."
Rodgers said that of the paddlers who rent boats from her livery, about one-third were from Bastrop and Travis Counties, and the majority of the paddlers she met were from Houston and San Antonio.
"Our business is booming right now, unlike a lot of other sectors of the economy," Rodgers said. "Nature tourism is booming because people are getting back to basics and it's affordable"
Plante said new paddling trails are officially opened only after local partners - cities, counties, river authorities or conservation organizations - have secured local support and made any necessary improvements to put-in and take-out locations on a proposed trail.
"This is a collaborative process between TPWD and local partners," Plante said. "We have significant technical and promotional resources we can put at the disposal of anyone who wants to establish a new paddling trail on public waters, but the process always starts at the local level."
Application forms and more information about both the benefits of paddling
trails and how to create one are located on the TPWD Web site.