blackwhitekayakA Natural State of Mind by Willie Younger


The one thing you will quickly notice when visiting our state’s rivers, bays and lakes is that; paddling isn’t an outdoors activity reserved exclusively for the young, bold or beautiful. Basically, anyone possessing a desire, modest physical ability, and a working appreciation of water/boating safety can comfortably enjoy this fun on the water in a kayak or canoe, or on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP).

Yep! Even a storm-tossed old water dog like me can experience a grand paddling adventure, and safely do so on just about any day of the year with the mild climate and alluring waters found in our corner of Texas!

Yet, finding a sweet body of water, with sufficient capacity level, flow rate or wholesome quality, in which to explore is no longer a sure thing in a world where freshwater is fast becoming in greater demand than oil. So, when Earth Day 2010 was approaching, the Matagorda County Birding Nature Center wished to draw attention to the fact that many of our meandering bayous, creeks and rivers face the very real possibility of; quite-literally, being drained to meet society’s accelerating wants and needs.

Sadly, some streams have already become little more than trickling and, therefore, stagnant ditches (most notably, the other Colorado River as it flows through California). Others are similarly threatened and, unless they are vigilantly watched over by those who care about them, will likely suffer the same disturbing fate.

Thus, the Paddlers’ Rally on the River was born and, has continued for the past seven years, as an anxiously-awaited meet-up of human-powered boating enthusiasts and water resources advocates from across the state. It is designed to raise public awareness of the increasing perils facing our freshwater streams and, concurrently, pay tribute to the countless contributions provided to all Texans…‘when’ these precious ribbons of water are allowed to make their way down to the Gulf of Mexico in a healthy state.

But, on this particularly-enchanting stretch of the Colorado, these paddlers will encounter a flood of no-stress, outdoor recreation in the company of fellow aquaphiles, along with other concerned guardians of our natural resources. So, at the end of the day, it would probably best be described as an incredible time for both youth and adults, from all walks of life, to abundantly benefit from a spring day out on this beautiful, terminal reach of Texas’ Colorado River.

This year’s Paddlers’ Rally on the River is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 9, at Bay City’s Riverside Park. Check-in will begin at 8:00 a.m. and local dignitaries will facilitate the official 9:00 a.m. start of this 7th annual floating fiesta.

Enticing advantages for prospective participants to thoughtfully consider include:

  • Pre-registration is required. But, there is no fee involved.
  • With an up-and-back route, paddlers can choose precisely how far, or long, they wish to float about (i.e., meaning; they can turn around wherever they desire along the 4.4 miles one-way, 8.8 round-trip, river route).
  • Rental kayaks are being provided for “boat-less” paddlers, at a reduced rate, by LCRA, Matagorda Adventures and the Birding Nature Center (i.e., $25 per sit-on-top, single or tandem).
  • The first 100 to enroll will be provided a handsome RALLY t-shirt, compliments of the Matagorda County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), to commemorate their on-the-water support of this natural resources tribute.
  • On-the-water safety patrol is being provided by LCRA’s River Rangers. These marine officers are prepared to assist paddlers in distress with bottled water, shuttles or tows, etc.
  • The CVB will host a hospitality booth where enthusiastic river runners can pick up snacks, bottled water and other complimentary treats to accommodate their river run.
  • A special prize will be awarded to the boat (i.e., participant in a single, or participants in a tandem) bringing in the most trash collected on the water and river banks.
  • Food vendors will be on hand at the park to satisfy the paddler’s lunchtime appetite and/or thirst, as developed while passionately plying the river all morning long.
  • The City of Bay City will be waiving the park’s daily $5/carload entry fee on Rally Saturday, thereby, encouraging paddlers to come with their enthusiastic cheerleaders and/or ground support teams.

To sign up, free-of-charge, to engage in this festive float trip, contact Bonnie Benson at or 361-389-8316. She can also make kayak reservations for boat-less paddlers in need. If intolerable weather or unsuitable river conditions should prevail, the Rally will be rescheduled.

Submitted by

Willie Younger

MCBNC Water Activities Coordinator


**Special Note: MAC proudly supports this event which generates awareness of water conservation & promotes paddlesports as a great recreational activity for all to enjoy.