|Birding is taking wing||History is coming alive||Trails are being marked||Kayaking is paddling forward|
What are your Pathways in Rockport, Fulton and Aransas County?
Click on the pictures to see what we have for your next adventure.
Aransas County and the Cities of Rockport and Fulton are rich in natural resources.
Our wealth of historic sites, birding opportunities, water-based recreational opportunities and the dedication of the community to their preservation are self evident in the many organizations that have been established to preserve and enjoy them.
As the work progresses on the Aransas Pathways Project we are frequently in the news. Watch for highlights here. We are making an investment in the future of Aransas County, Rockport and Fulton.
The first Pathway's Kayak Launch Site Opening will be on Tuesday April 29, 2014, at 10 a.m.
End of Airport Rd-crossing over FM 1781 ending at Copano Bay.
The Airport Road Kayak Launch site will be the first to be opened by Aransas Pathways. Other kayak sites are being developed with easy access to the water. The sites are spread across the county and each site has multi-purposes and levels of difficulty. Paddlers can enjoy the scenery of our gulf prairies and marshes or kayak the open bays. Birding and fishing are very popular kayak activities in our area.
Please make plans to be present for this exciting opening of the first Aransas Pathways Kayak venue in our community!
We Look forward to seeing you there!
Freshly painted and landscaped, the Grand Opening is scheduled for May 17th, and you're invited!
|The History Center for Aransas County is getting ready for its Grand Opening and Ribbon cutting on May 17, 2014 from 10 AM to Noon. The painting inside and outside is ready for guests to enjoy the historical displays and entertainment. Docents will be on hand in period clothing to provide information about the house and provide refreshments.||The Education Committee is working to decide what items will be included in the “Now” and “Then” display in the Parlor. There will be matching children activities to be enjoyed by the younger guests. They will also share information about each of the men who owned the house.|
|Before the flowers can be planted, the group has to work the soil and remove the rocks. The work is following a design done by the Master Gardeners to use many native plants that will enhance the cottage feel of the house.||New pathways surround the house to view the outside displays when the History Center is not open. The History Center will be open to the public on Friday and Saturday from 10 am until 2 pm. It will also be available for meetings and rent for special events.|
Click here to download flyer in pdf format.
Pathways Center Groundbreaking Tuesday April 1, 10am
Located at 2491 Hwy 35 N (Walmart entrance next to Tule Creek). Pathways Center, upon completion, will be the "go-to" place for information for all of the Aransas Pathways projects. These projects consist of: Birding, History, Kayaking, and Hike and Bike Trails. Plans for Pathways Center include: pavilion with informational kiosks, an open center for meeting space, benches and a deck for relaxing and observation of Tule Creek and the adjoining nature site. The project also includes a bridge which will connect the North and South sides of Tule Creek and Shellcrete Birding and Nature site.
Spring Fling Kayak Launch site Opening: Tuesday April 29, 10am
Located at the end of Airport Road - crossing over FM 1781 ending at Copano Bay. Airport Rd. Kayak Launch site will be the first to be opened by Aransas Pathways. Five Kayak sites are being developed with easy access to the water. The sites are spread across the county and each site has multi-purposes and levels of difficulty. Paddlers can enjoy the scenery of our gulf prairies and marshes or Kayak the open Bays. Birding and Fishing are very popular Kayak activities in our area.
Linda S. Castro Birding and Nature Sanctuary Grand Opening: Saturday, May 3, 10am
Located at 4041 Highway Business 35 North Fulton, Texas, this 4 ½ acre site is still under construction. Numerous bird drips are being installed. A new pavilion for viewing has been erected with a large slab for viewing. The viewing site drops off to a natural low spot that becomes a large pond during rainy times. Native plants have been placed around the slab and on each side of the site entrance. There is a good example of a remnant prairie that has a meandering path. Birds that can be seen: Yellow-bellied sapsuckers, sparrows, Pine Warblers and Eastern Phoebe.
History Center – Saturday May, 17 10am – 12pm
Located at 801 East Cedar Street the Bruhl-Paul-Johnson house was moved in August 2012. The center is a Queen Anne-Victorian cottage that will provide space for displays, workshops, meetings and gatherings. It will house the offices of Friends of the History Center and be the History Center for the County. FMI – on the History Center -361-790-7788.
With a lot of help from our Technical Committees for History, Birding, Kayaking, and Trails the Project continued to make progress toward its goal of establishing new or updated attractions which will provide more things for visitors to the county to do. Keeping “visitor’s heads in beds”, spending more time with us, benefits the hotel industry as well as most of our businesses.
The Aransas Pathways Steering Committee is responsible for coordinating, funding and completing projects brought forward by our Technical Committees. All of these projects are funded by the venue tax passed in May of 2010 or grants from various organizations and individuals. The venue tax is collected through hotels, motels and rental property management companies and is paid by visitors to the County. There is no cost to property owners within the County.
The Project can spend these funds when approved by Commissioner’s Court and then, only when the project is being completed on land which is controlled by the project. This means that property acquisition by purchase or by lease is an important and time consuming activity. This is a major portion of the time required to complete most of the Pathways Projects.
The following projects have been completed or are underway in various locations throughout the County.
The Bruhl-Paul-Johnson House has been moved from its location on Concho Street to 801 East Cedar Street. Renovation began in 2013 and is structurally complete. It will be painted this spring. The old home has been established as a History Center for the County and will be operated by the Friends of the History Center. More improvements are anticipated but will require additional funding. Private donations are welcome.
Blue Crab: Installed at the southern end of Little Bay toward the end of 2012. The crab has turned into a real photo op and tourist attraction. Pathways involvement was minimal, really support to the History group for publicity and erection costs. Thanks to Kam Waggert who drove this project.
Signs and markers have been and are being placed at a number of historic sites within the Heritage District and other locations throughout the County.
Ivy Lane Birding Site has been leased from the City of Rockport. The site has been improved by establishing an ADA walking trail and primitive walking trails, a number of water drips and observation benches and interpretive signs. This site primarily attracts upland birds in times of migration.
Linda S. Castro Birding and Nature Site was acquired from the Castro family. It is being developed in two phases. Phase I will be completed this spring. This phase includes establishing a parking lot, clearing out brush, rubbish, and some invasive vegetation. Planting trees and shrubbery attractive to both birds and butterflies, establishing a well to provide water to the plants and if necessary to a pond located on the west of the property are also included. The pond will become home to waterfowl and provide water to other birds and wildlife in the area. This prime site is located on Highway 35 North just after Love Automotive. Look for the sign! The site is fenced and ADA parking is available. A Grand Opening is planned for May 3, 2014.
Shellcrete Birding Site is an extension of Shellcrete Historic Site near the intersection of Tule Creek and Highway 35 North. This site will include an ADA trail, primitive trails, water drips, observation benches and perhaps one photography blind. The site has been leased from the City of Rockport and, though work has not started, should be complete during 2014.
Tule Marsh East was leased from the City of Rockport. Aransas First, the original developer of the site transferred their interest to Aransas Pathways which will provide maintenance and continue development. Pathways has completed phase one of the current plan by improving trails, and renewing planting in flower beds and removing some invasive species. A great deal of work remains to be done for this site which may include repairs to the current board walk, providing means for a constant water supply to the marsh and work along the northeastern berm to remove invasive species and to control the flow of storm water into the marsh. This work is scheduled to begin in 2014 but may not be complete until mid-2015.
Pathways Project Center is located on the west side of Highway 35 N and the intersection of Tule Creek. This land was leased from the City of Rockport and will serve as a birding site but will also be the information center for the Project. It will include a wooden bridge crossing Tule Creek linking the parking lot at the head of the City Hike and Bike trail to Shellcrete Historic Site and Birding Site. There will also be an open air pavilion with informative, interpretive signage describing the Aransas Pathways project for use by tourists and visitors. This pavilion will have an excellent view of the creek and is expected to attract birders and photographers. It will also be useful as a spot to stage local events and educational activities for our residents.
Henderson Nature Site This property has been acquired by the County through a CMP grant. Development planning is underway. It will include parking, a primitive trail, bird drips and observation benches. This site may be completed in 2014.
Connie Hagar Birding Site This site has been developed and maintained to date by the Friends of Connie Hagar. The Friends group has recently dedicated the site as a conservation easement under the sponsorship of Aransas First. Aransas Pathways intends to lease the site from the Friends of Connie Hagar and will further develop and maintain the site under the stipulations of the conservation easement thus providing long term care and maintenance of this historical property which also serves as a birding site during annual migrations.
Five kayak launch sites are being developed. All of them provide easy access to water, limited parking and trash receptacles. Two have been completed including a site at the end of Airport Road, providing access to Copano Bay. The second site is located at the end of Copano Retreat Road providing access to Swan Lake. A site at Fowler Lake has been leased from the City of Aransas Pass which will provide access to the Intercoastal Waterway and Estes Flats. Other sites are located at the end of Port Bay Road, and at the 188 bridge on the Sinton highway. These sites are scheduled for completion in 2014.
Initial bike paths have been plotted throughout the county but progress has been delayed due to difficulty in obtaining permission from TXDOT for erection of “Share the Road Signs” which are necessary to improve safety of riders. These signs are ready for installation upon receipt of TXDOT approval.
State Transportation Enhancement Project is a federally funded system of trails which will consist of improved sidewalks connecting businesses, schools, parks and other attractions to neighborhoods in the City. Pathways won this $708,000 grant last July. The Pathways organization continues to plan for engineering and design. This work will begin as soon as funds are released by the State of Texas. This project may in fact take more than two years to complete but individual segments may be in place toward the end of 2014.
The project is managed by the Aransas Pathways Steering Committee consisting of De McLellan and Tom Callan, Co Chairs, Mayor of Rockport CJ Wax, Mayor of Fulton Jimmy Kendrick, County Commissioner Charles Smith, Capt. Tommy Moore, Aransas County Navigation District, Brian Olsen, Lodging Representative and Technical Committee Chairpersons Earl Matthew, Trails, Deb Corpora, Birding, Pam Stranahan, History, Phil Stranahan, Kayaking, Sandy Jumper, Marketing/Chamber of Commerce, and Ray Kirkwood, Grants and Budgets. Other key volunteers include Diane Probst, Nancy Paulson, Ellen Reisinger, and Fred Lanoe. The Project Manager is John Strothman.
Use the links above to read the full report to the Commissioners Court.
On Saturday January 25, despite temperatures in the 40s, twenty intrepid birders from the Aransas Bird and Nature Club and the Corpus Christi Audubon Outdoor Club arrived for the first official tour of the three new Aransas Pathways Birding Sites. We started at the Rockport Demo Garden and Wetlands Pond (Tule Marsh East) and among the notable birds were a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher and Orange-Crowned Warbler. Our next stop was the Linda S. Castro Nature Sanctuary. Everyone got a great look at a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet and a Ladder-backed Woodpecker. The group then traveled on to Ivy Lane where we were pleased to see a White-eyed Vireo and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. It was a very enjoyable morning and hopefully the first of many tours to these wonderful new birding sites.
Aransas County Judge C. H. “Burt” Mills is pleased to announce the hiring of John Strothman as the Project Manager for Aransas County. This position is responsible for the planning, oversight, and execution of designated County projects, including but not limited to the Aransas Pathways Projects Program. [Projects specific to the Road and Bridge Department or the Flood Control Program remain under the supervision of those respective department heads and are not included.]
Mr. Strothman has several years of experience in land management, the bidding and permitting process, construction management, restoration work, and development and mitigation of environmentally sensitive and historically significant resources. He had previously served as Vice President of Production at Hogan Homes including oversight of the Whistler’s Cove subdivision in Rockport and several other communities in the Coastal Bend. He is looking forward to working with the County in the development, implementation, and maintenance of its projects.
To view the press from Aransas County, click here.
Photo by Phil Stanahan
Good things are happening. Fall planting time is going on at two of the Aransas Pathways Birding Sites. The native demonstration garden at Tule Marsh East has been refurbished and replanted with hummingbird and butterfly attracting plants. The irrigation is in and soon there will be plant signs. Over at the Linda S. Castro site seeds balls consisting of native wildflowers and grasses have been planted behind the slab in order to establish a hummingbird and butterfly garden there as well. Native grasses have been transplanted along the slope to control erosion and landscaping plans have been drawn up for both sides of the entryway. Soon this will be planted in anticipation of our April Grand Opening Ceremony.
Our new app, "Tour Rockport-Fulton", is your passport to GPS-guided Pathways to Birding, Hiking, Biking, History, Kayaking and our local attractions. Download this free application and you'll be ready to set off explore Rockport, Fulton and Aransas County.
|Get the iPhone, iPod, or iPad versions on iTunes||Get the Android version on Google Play|
A printed, 'take it with you' map of the Aransas Pathways project sites is available for your use now. the Birding and Kayak sites are over-laid on a map of the full Live Oak and Blackjack peninsulas with a legend. The inside of this folded 8½" by 11" map are aerial shots of the area with the Bike trails marked with their Ease of Use level. Expanded views of Downtown Rockport and Downtown Fulton with a legend of Historical sites is also included. Plan your custom tours with this valuable map.
Available FREE at most lodging front desks, RV parks and at the Rockport-Fulton Visitor Center at 319 Broadway in Rockport.