The Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau is pleased to announce the City is breaking ground on construction of the Cattail Marsh boardwalk and viewing platforms. The new boardwalk features two covered platforms providing access to incredible views of the wetlands’ abundant wildlife. The boardwalk will stretch 520 feet across the most active habitat within Cattail Marsh, it will be eight-feet wide to the first viewing platform, and six-feet in width to the second viewing platform. Construction is expected to be complete by Fall 2016. During this time, access to the wetlands near the construction area will be restricted.
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 announce the ground breaking of the Cattail Marsh boardwalk and are excited to see all of our work and efforts come to fruition. Along with the CVB, multiple City departments have contributed including Water Reclamation, Planning, and Parks & Recreation. We’ve also worked closely with the Golden Triangle Audubon Society, nature organizations and consultants to make this vision a reality. Cattail Marsh is a tremendous nature tourism attraction and providing boardwalk access to such a prime birding hotspot will offer a new way for locals and visitors to enjoy the natural assets of Beaumont.”
The Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau has amped up marketing efforts to boost exposure of the destination’s nature tourism offerings. These initiatives have been well received; Beaumont has garnered influential media placements in travel articles and recently hosted an international birding journalist. As a result of Bureau-driven sales initiatives, Beaumont has booked several notable group events and garnered multiple powerful endorsements.
This spring, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT) chose Beaumont as host for its 40th Anniversary Celebration which drew respected bird watchers from 24 states and international visitors from Denmark, Venezuela, Canada and Panama. VENT’s special guests included the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Kaufman Field Guides, the Owl Research Institute, Cape May Bird Observatory and the American Bird Conservancy. For four days, the world’s most highly skilled tour leaders and experts toured Cattail Marsh and other prime regional hotspots.
“Beaumont, Texas offers easy accessibility to a diverse array of birding locations in one of the premier birding areas of North America, the Upper Texas Coast,” touted Victor Emanuel. “Beaumont is one of the few regions in the country to offer such splendid birding opportunities.” Victor Emanuel Tours is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest bird tour companies. It operates over 150 worldwide birding and nature history tours and cruises annually.
Two additional birding events held recently in Beaumont include a Galveston Featherfest Field Trip and the Great Texas Birding Classic Big Sit held on April 26 on the site of the new boardwalk. 88 bird species were spotted by members of the Golden Triangle Audubon team over the 12 hour period.
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.
“America has over 46 million birdwatchers. Cattail Marsh Wetlands is a tremendous nature tourism asset, the potential for this market’s growth is all positive,” says Stephanie Molina, CTE, CVB Director of Marketing.
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 announce this ground breaking development in Beaumont,” says Dean Conwell, CDME CVB Executive Director. “Boardwalk construction was strategically planned to begin after Spring migration and be complete before Fall migration in order to avoid interference with prime bird watching seasons.”
The Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau is planning a grand opening event to celebrate this important project milestone. For additional information about the event, contact Elizabeth Eddins, CTE, Director of Tourism at firstname.lastname@example.org or (409) 880-3749. To learn more about the Cattail Marsh wetlands and area birding hotspots, please visit www.beaumontcvb.com/cattailmarsh.