In recognition of the “Healthy Parks, Healthy People: Let's Move Outside” initiative, Gulf Islands National Seashore and the Heritage Trails Partnership of the Mississippi Gulf Coast recently held ribbon-cutting ceremonies for two new water trails, also known as “blueways.”
One of the blueways is a 1.5-mile-long loop trail in Davis Bayou, Mississippi, and the other is a 12-mile roundtrip trail that follows the coast of Perdido Key, Florida.
The new blueways were dedicated and officially opened to the public at two weekend events during the month of November. More than 100 kayakers and paddleboarders launched their watercraft during the weekend events to show support and enthusiasm for the new blueways.
Paddlers reported being captivated by the majesty of bald eagles soaring overhead at Davis Bayou and experiencing the thrill of being joined by a pod of dolphins at Perdido Key. Children and adults enjoyed being out on the water and observing nature up close.
In addition to all the fun on the water, the health benefits for an average person paddling the new blueways include burning approximately 400 calories per hour kayaking and between 500-700 calories per hour paddleboarding.
Gulf Islands National Seashore strives to support communities’ efforts to expand access to water-based recreation and to “follow the flow” as outlined by the “Call to Action.” The park is exploring the opportunity to have the Perdido Key blueway formally linked to other trails and thus be eligible for designation as a national water trail.
The project was made possible in part by a grant from the National Park Foundation through the generous support of the Coca-Cola Foundation.