A River Runs Through It: Assessing the Attitudes of Landowners along the Luling Paddle Trail
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In 1987, the President's Commission on Americans Outdoors recommended that communities establish public greenways along lands and waterways to provide recreationalists with open space access that is close to their homes (President's Commission on Americans Outdoors, 1987). This form of outdoor space is different than a traditional park in that greenways are longer, often more narrow, corridors that are conducive to walking, running, hiking and cycling. Moreover, several states and local communities have turned to creating paddle trails along scenic stretches of rivers in order to provide another opportunity for recreationalists to enjoy their natural surroundings. The Texas Parks and Wildlife has created such a program that promotes the use of popular rivers for paddling recreation. However, due to the linear nature of greenways, the space occupied often stretches through several tracts of private land. Some of the neighboring landowners of greenways have expressed apprehension toward these spaces because of concerns over a loss of property value, privacy, crime, liability, property damage and trespassing.
The purpose of this research is to assess the attitudes of landowners living along the Luling Paddle Trail before and after the opening of the trail. The method chosen in determining the attitudes of these landowners is surveys. The results show that although there is a slight concern over a loss of privacy and trespassing, most landowners do not feel trepidation toward the trail. The conclusion of this research explores the necessity of expanding this research to cover more river trails.