Where I Work: Her office is the banks of Fort Worth's Trinity River

Teresa Paddling Small

Where I Work: Her office is the banks of Fort Worth’s Trinity River

By Teresa Patterson

I have the best office view in all of Fort Worth, and I don’t even have a corner office. My office is on the river. To be precise, my office for most of the year is either in my kayak guiding people on the river or in my trailer on the edge of the river.

Either way, I get to see the Trinity in all her moods, from smooth as glass to wind-whipped fury. And our location on the Fort Worth Trinity Trails means I get to meet the most interesting people, from the hikers and bikers who pass by, often stopping to chat, to the Segway tours that always make a pit stop to admire “the smallest beach in Texas!”

Technically, I have two jobs: managing the 130 miles of the Trinity River National Water Trail and managing TC Paddlesports at Panther Island. Both of my roles are working for different aspects of the nonprofit organization Trinity Coalition.

The Trinity River became a National Water Trail because of the Trinity Coalition, which now manages the trail by coordinating the nine cities and two counties along the river trail. As paddle trail manager, I focus on protecting the river, preserving access for all and growing the trail with a goal of one day expanding it all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

As part of the team that worked on getting the National Water Trail designation, I had to paddle most of the trail, test out the portage routes and help document all the many details required by the National Park Service to win the designation. Currently, the Trinity is the only National Water Trail in Texas. These days, I run water cleanups, help paddlers, fishermen and tourists with questions and issues about the river, and manage our social media and web presence.

But the best way to get people to care about nature and the health of our river is to get them on the river, actually out in nature — to develop conservation through recreation. And that is where my second job comes in. As the manager of TC Paddlesports, I have a chance to share my passion for the water, wildlife and the environment by providing rentals, classes and tours.

We have kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards available for any skill level. TC Paddlesports not only gives me the avenue to help people discover paddlesports and the Trinity, it also gives me a way to help fund our nonprofit with every purchase.

As a guide, I love seeing the wonder on my clients’ faces as they discover the beauty on the river that can only be experienced from the water. As an instructor, I love watching a new paddler suddenly realize they really can do this. And as a nature lover, I get to work with naturalists as they study and catalog the impressive diversity of plants and animals within our river system.

Bet you didn’t know we had over 20 different species of fish in the downtown Fort Worth section of the Trinity alone — not to mention ducks, geese, great blue herons, egrets, swans, hawks and so many turtles. On a sunny day, you cannot pass by a log or large rock without seeing a turtle.

What’s that you say? There can’t be that much nature in the middle of a city! Well, come on down to my office and let me show you. You’ll be glad you did.

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This article first appeared on Fort Worth Report and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.