Coates Bluff

Entries from the ABetterShreveport blog relevant to the Coates Bluff Nature and History Trail

History of Coates Bluff (Compiled by Susan Keith, Retired Magnet High Teacher)

Accomplishments To Date
Fall 2005 – Jon Soul’s children began attending The Montessori School for Shreveport (MSS); Jon took notice of Anderson Bayou and lots of dumping.

Fall 2008 – Jon Soul began teaching in the MSS middle school; began exploring bayou & adjacent sewer easement/maintenance road with students.
Spring 2009 -- Organized a large community cleanup of the bayou.

Fall 2009 -- Started Outdoor Education Program at MSS; began using 1/2 mile "nature loop" with all ages at MSS.

Winter 2009 -- Met with Mike Strong to receive permission to continue using trail -- verbal permission and support granted.

Winter 2009 -- Established foot trail with ABetterShreveport (ABS) extending trail to Magnet High School.

Spring 2010 -- SPAR installed gate in southeast corner of Valencia Park for Magnet and Valencia Rec Center students.

Spring 2010 -- 2nd community cleanup of trail from MSS to Valencia Park.

Fall 2010 -- Invited the manager at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge to come give advice on invasive species control along the trail (specifically Chinese Tallow); he brought Mike Renfro, a private land biologist with the FWS; both were very impressed.

Spring 2011 -- Magnet students began using the trail with teacher Robert Trudeau; Valencia Rec Center began using trail during "Winter Camp."

Spring 2011 -- 3rd annual cleanup: "Hopewell Cemetery Cleanup & Watershed Protection."

Spring 2011 -- EB Williams Stoner Hill Elementary installed gate on fence line in order to access trail; 5th graders used trail for first time.

Spring 2011 -- ABS assumed role of strategic planner for Coates Bluff development; Centenary College hosted 1stCoates Bluff community meeting - David Rowe, Centenary's president presides; working groups formed (ex. education).

Summer 2011 -- 2nd & 3rd Coates Bluff community meeting(s): mapping and conceptual design alternatives for the trail to help stakeholders come to consensus on values, programming, and use of the space. Outlined a clear set of values, brainstormed programmatic needs, and built a volunteer base. Discussed activities, fundraising, and governance/maintenance options.

July 28, 2011 -- ABS met with FWS; FWS is ready to secure funding for the trail and provide guidance in best management practices.

Aug 15, 2011 -- 4th ABS Coates Bluff meeting: Present concept design and proposal to stakeholders for review.

Oct.11 -- Steph & Jon presented to Bird Study Group

Nov. 6 -- Bayou cleanup with Centenary Students

Nov. 12 -- Coates Bluff trail opening celebration (tables by MSS, ABS, Walter B. Jacobs Nature Park)

Nov. 18 -- Walked trail with Wes Wyche

Nov. 27 -- ABS advocacy event -- worked on access trail for Stoner Hill Elementary. Channel 6 showed up