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Lake Arlington may get a paddle trail

ARLINGTON — The city is considering opening a paddle trail on Lake Arlington, with help from the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Plans call for the water trail to skirt about two-thirds of the lake's perimeter, creating a lane for canoes, paddle boats and kayaks.

Signs could designate no-wake zones, lake access and private property areas. Buoys could mark hazards. A kiosk on shore would offer a map of the trail and alert boaters to places of interest along the route.

"Kayaking has grown tremendously as an outdoor sport," said Gary Packen, the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department's enterprise programs assistant director.

As computers and video games have grown in popularity, obesity has increased and outdoor sports have declined, Packen said. The trail is an amenity the department would use to entice residents to get outdoors and have fun while being active.

Packen said that the program would cost little.

"We're hoping the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife would help us with signs and promotional material," he said.

Currently, people can launch kayaks at the lake and paddle around with bigger boats. But the smaller boats would be safer on the trail, he said.

"We're not going to police it and say you can't do that, but we're saying, 'Here's a safe area,'" Packen said.

Kristi Payne of Arlington, who frequently kayaks with her family on Lake Arlington, said she would definitely use the trail.

"A paddle trail would provide safer access and be more family friendly," she said. "I can't wait for it to open."Packen said he is still looking at having kayaks for rent at the lake, whether through the city or a third party. He also said he is analyzing whether to have a facility where people could store their kayaks so they don't have to haul them home.

Packen said he hopes that the trail can open this summer if all goes well with the city's negotiations with Parks and Wildlife.