SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Friends of a nature trail used by students at three Shreveport schools are asking for help.
Coates Bluff Nature Trail is a walking path that begins at The Montessori School For Shreveport’s campus and winds through an old channel of the Red River. Along the way, hikers can explore an ancient river bed and see what’s left of the historic Coates Bluff settlement.
Vivienne Keller is one of the students at Montisorri who loves the trail.
“We do have a pair of otters,” said Keller. “A lot of people are hoping they have babies because who doesn’t love baby otters?”
The nature trail is all that’s left of the old port on the Red River where people of the old world and the new world once traded goods. The Coates Bluff settlement was established in 1803, the year of the Louisiana Purchase, and the first post office was created there in 1838.
“It has layers of history that the trail itself helps preserve,” said Jon Soul about this historic riverport. Soul is a teacher at Montessori and one of the project’s originators, and his attention is usually on the history of the bluff and the surrounding watershed. But as of late, his mind has been on what might happen if the last undeveloped land were to be sold and developed.
Soul said that 70% of the land has been developed within the watershed since 2009.
He also mentioned that the land currently for sale is the last of the ground protecting the Coates Bluff ecosystem.
Montessori students have become watershed protectors, and every second Saturday, there is a community walk on the Coates Bluff Nature Trail. Anyone can come out for the walk, where they’ll learn a little about the history of Coates Bluff. Another added benefit of attending a second Saturday hike is getting the chance to experience the relaxation nature offers at this inner-city greenspace.
The Coates Bluff Nature Trail is often used for an outdoor classroom and has become an asset to the lives of students, parents, teachers, and even tourists.
Friends of the Coates Bluff Nature Trail are worried that if the land is purchased and developed, it will further impact the health of the watershed and be the end of the trail, so they have set up a GoFundMe page for those who want to help.
“I like that the bayou is right beside it, and there are a lot of plant species, and it’s very diverse, and there are many ways you can go on it,” said Montessori student Patrick Parker. “I would be very sad and hurt (if the trail disappeared) because I’ve been on the trail almost all of my life, since I’ve been here,” he told KTAL.
For more information about Coates Bluff Nature Trail, visit their Facebook page by clicking here.
Or if you’d like to attend their upcoming fundraiser at the Shreveport Aquarium, purchase your ticket here.
For those who can’t attend the event or make a donation but still want to help, sharing this article with your friends will make a big difference.