Nueces River Paddling Trail takeout

A boat ramp off Hwy 59 south of George West that concludes the Nueces River Paddling Trail is open 24/7. (Chris Filoteo photo)

LIVE OAK COUNTY – Land owners are encouraged to expand public access to fishing and paddling Texas rivers through leased access agreements.

Particularly, the Nueces River in Live Oak and McMullen Counties.

“Interested landowners with properties along the Nueces River just need to contact me,” Texas Parks & Wildlife Department River Access Coordinator John Botros said. “After a brief discussion, I typically set up a meeting with the landowner at the proposed property for leased river access.”

Interested landowners and TPWD  staff survey proposed sites to establish an agreement along rivers.

“Our staff would conduct a short site evaluation to collect the information we need to score a site according to the criteria,” Botros said. “Depending on how a site scores, we would make a decision on how to proceed and the lease rate that could be offered.”

Last year, the George West Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center coordinated with TPWD, along with many others to create the Nueces River Paddling Trail in between Three Rivers and George West.

The paddling trail begins near the Live Oak County Park off Airport Road and ends at the Nueces River Bridge off Hwy. 59 spanning 4.4 miles.

But the only paddling trail in Live Oak County from start to finish is public access.

TPWD wants to focus upriver from the Airport Road boat ramp, or below the Nueces River Bridge south of George West.

“We really try to establish leased access sites with good connectivity to other access points in an effort to open up more river miles to paddling and fishing opportunities,” Botros said. “Along the Nueces, finding a landowner with property three to six miles upstream, or downstream of the current paddling trail would be a focus.”

Landowners can establish parking criteria as necessary according to the lease agreements.

“Capacity of parking, or other amenities is completely dictated by the landowner,” Botros said. “TPWD will make recommendations for streamside fish and wildlife habitat enhancements and other access improvements. It is up to the landowner to decide how much of that they wish to implement.

“All infrastructure improvements are the responsibility of the landowner. TPWD may be able to help with the purchase of certain things like erosion control materials, road base/gravel, planting and seeding as such.”

There are currently 18 leases across the state that provide access to rivers.

Interested landowners can contact John Botros at john.botros@tpwd.texas.gov.

 Chris Filoteo is the editor at The Progress and can be reached at 830-254-8088, or at karnes@mySouTex.com.

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