Cane River and Natchitoches to obtain Nationwide Park Service Neighborhood Help Grant to develop an out of doors recreation plan


The National Park Service (NPS) Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) announced the selection of nine new communities and partners across the South Atlantic Gulf region to receive NPS expert advice to improve local recreation, conservation and to advance economic development opportunities.
Recipients—in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, and North Carolina—were selected through a competitive process and receive support to make their rivers, trails, greenways, and open spaces vital, life-enhancing parts of their communities.
“The RTCA service program helps NPS advance its stewardship mission while expanding local outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Deirdre Hewitt, NPS regional RTCA program manager. “By investing in the future of communities in the Southeast, we are creating new opportunities for people of all backgrounds to explore, experience and enjoy this region.”
In Louisiana, the Natchitoches and Cane River Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan was selected to establish a recreation and conservation network that is accessible and connected to local communities and the City of Natchitoches. The Cane River National Heritage Area (CRNHA) preserves the unique cultural, historical and natural landscape of the Cane River region. The heritage area offers a wealth of outdoor recreation including boating, kayaking, fishing, hiking and camping along the 35-mile long Cane River Lake.
“Over the years, Natchitoches residents and community partners have had great success in leading grassroots efforts to build a consistent mindset of preservation and preservation of the culture,” noted Rebecca Blankenbaker, executive director of the Cane River National Heritage Area. In comparison, our outdoor recreation and conservation of natural resources has lagged behind, with individual projects developing sporadically rather than a conscious and planned approach. “As recreational tourism increases in the region, we hope this project will allow us to reach consensus and develop a plan with community partners for a long-term outdoor recreation strategy that incorporates existing resources and identifies future projects and strategies,” he continued Blankenbacker.
CRNHA, a nonprofit organization that takes a grassroots approach to heritage preservation and economic development, is working with NPS’s RTCA and National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) programs and local community groups to create an outdoor recreation plan that identifies and maps these recreational resources and opportunities across the 116,000 acres of the heritage site.
“We are excited to participate in this community-led planning effort to improve recreational and conservation opportunities for everyone in Natchitoches,” said Andy Ferrell, associate director of the NCPTT.