When outdoor retailer Backwoods closed its kayak, paddleboard and canoe rental location at Panther Island last August, inner-city adventures were left adrift.
Austin-based Backwoods had run aground due to financial problems and closed its Fort Worth location as well as others..
Now plans are in motion to open the Trinity River location again with May 13 as the target date for a grand opening party.
“It’s going to happen,” said Teresa Patterson, Trinity River Water Trail manager for the Trinity Coalition, an organization that works to transform the Trinity River corridor into a nationally recognized conservation and recreation area. “It’s just getting through all the little nuts and bolts that have to happen.”
Trinity Coalition – under the name TC Paddlesports – will operate from the same facility that Backwoods ran for many years and with some of the same personnel, Patterson said.
The news of the reopening is welcome news for kayakers like local writer Hollace Weiner.
“I started kayaking during the pandemic,” she said. “It proved to be a welcome combination of exercise and meditation.”
The area is scenic, too, noted Weiner.
”I got acquainted with several artists who were painting scenes on the giant concrete blocks scattered along the shoreline,” she said. “I photographed birds. I laughed at the baby turtles as they tumbled off rocks and into the water as I approached.”
The beauty of the river and surrounding area has been recognized nationally, too. For the third year in a row, the Trinity River National Water Trail is featured in the winning photograph in the paddling and water trails division of the annual National Recreation Trails photo contest. All three photos were taken by Patterson and in Fort Worth on the Clear Fork Trinity River near Panther Island.
“It’s a beautiful area but sometimes you have to be on the river to really see it,” said Patterson.
Weiner is excited to add kayaking back into her schedule.
“I’m a writer and I went kayaking whenever I needed a break in the middle of the day from my computer screen,” she said.
In You Go
TC Paddlesports at Panther Island
480 North Taylor St., Fort Worth 76102
TC Paddlesports will have about 40 kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and canoes.
Six days a week, weather permitting. They will be closed on Tuesdays. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the spring. Summer hours (from Memorial Day to Labor Day) will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Singles are $20 for the first hour and $10 for each additional hour. Tandems and canoes are $30 for the first hour and $20 each additional hour.
Tours will be priced between $40 to $60 per person, depending on the tour. And children too small to paddle are $5. Dogs are allowed, but vests are strongly recommended.
Classes will be taught by American Canoe Association certified instructors. The basic class is $65 a person and runs about four hours. Advanced skill classes will start at $75 and up depending on instructor availability and class level.
Grand opening party
Saturday, May 13
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Free hot dogs and a live band
For more information:
The website for TC Paddlesports at Panther Island is not up yet.
Check the Trinity Coalition website for updates.
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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