Birding in Southeast Texas just got even better. Port Arthur features 5 miles of natural beach at Sea Rim State Park and Sabine Woods. Cattail Marsh in Beaumont is already a well-known hot spot, and now there’s a spectacular boardwalk to entice birders:
The Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted the grand opening of the Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands boardwalk and viewing platforms. The new boardwalk features two covered platforms providing access to incredible views of the wetlands’ abundant wildlife. The boardwalk stretches 520 feet across the most active habitat within Cattail Marsh; it is eight-feet wide to the first viewing platform, and six-feet in width to the second viewing platform.
The Cattail Marsh boardwalk is a recent product development initiative of the Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau that has been in the works for several years.
Elizabeth Eddins, CTE, Beaumont CVB Director of Tourism says, “We are thrilled to welcome visitors and birders to the Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands Boardwalk! We’ve worked closely with numerous City Departments, nature organizations and consultants to make this vision a reality. Cattail Marsh is a tremendous nature tourism attraction. The Boardwalk provides access to a prime birding hotspot and offers an exclusive, close-up view of the natural assets of Beaumont.”
Nature Tourism on the Texas Gulf Coast generates $19 billion in annual spending of which $6.5 billion is from wildlife watching alone. The lower Texas Coast released an economic impact study showing the impact of nature tourism on the Rio Grande Valley. In 2011, the Rio Grande Valley saw $463 million from nature tourism, 62% from birders. These tourists generated extra local sales tax revenue totaling $2,560,300 and $7,512,900 in hotel tax collections. The Cattail Marsh boardwalk project will increase Beaumont’s share of the nature tourism market.
The improvements to Cattail Marsh’s accessibility will benefit birdwatchers, photographers, naturalists and nature lovers alike. The wetlands provide habitat for a stunning diversity of birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians and plants. Cattail Marsh is home to over 251 species of birds annually due to the constant water source and positioning between two coastal flyways on the Great Texas Birding Loop.
“Our team, partners and consultants have provided a multitude of valuable information and direction for this initiative. We truly feel like we’ve done our homework and are so pleased to welcome visitors to enjoy the Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands Boardwalk,” says Dean Conwell, CDME CVB Executive Director.