The Friends of the Wildlife Corridor (Friends) are now offering guided canoe trips at two locations on the Rio Grande: along the shores of the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and below Falcon Lake near the Roma Bluffs World Birding Center (WBC).

“These canoe trips — the Santa Ana NWR and Roma Bluffs WBC — are really different from each other and provide the public two wonderful opportunities to enjoy the Rio Grande for very different reasons,” said Nancy Brown, Public Outreach Specialist for the South Texas Refuge Complex. The half-day excursions include about two hours of paddling and are designed to accommodate beginners. “We go out when the river is flowing gently, which makes for a comfortable paddle. But canoeing is a physical sport and you will get a little bit of a workout,” said Brown.

The cost is $15 per person for trips based out of Roma Bluffs WBC and $20 for Santa Ana NWR. This includes all necessary equipment, guided instruction, and a shuttle from the put-in to the take-out point. “These canoe adventures are great for families, wildlife watchers, and basically anyone who enjoys being outdoors,” said Brown.

Trips can accommodate up to eight paddlers and there is a four person minimum requirement.

Children under 12 must be accompanied by a parent. Departure is at 8:15 a.m. from the Santa Ana NWR Visitor Center and from the Roma Bluffs WBC. Participants are encouraged to bring snacks, water, sunscreen, a hat, binoculars, shoes they don’t mind getting wet, and guidebooks.

To make reservations below Falcon Lake, please contact the Roma Bluffs World Birding Center at 956-849-4930. To reserve a canoe trip along Santa Ana NWR’s shores, call (956)784-7500.

The seasonal canoe trips are offered January through March though custom trips are available throughout the year.

To learn more about the canoe trips and the Friends, visit www.friendsofsouthtexasrefuges.org.

The Friends are a non-profit organization whose mission it is to protect, support and enhance the Santa Ana and Lower Rio Grande Valley NWRs. All proceeds from the canoe trips are used for education and conservation projects on both refuges.

“The Friends have been running these canoe trips since 1998 and people just love it,” said Brown. “It’s an amazing thing we have right here in our own back yard and I hope people will take the opportunity to get out on the Rio Grande and enjoy it.”

The mission of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is, working with others, to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.