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Trip Planning

Alabama State Lands

Taking time to plan your trip can significantly enhance your experience. Be aware of the Rules for Use and take pride in what this region has to offer. Leave no-trace of your presence so the experiences for those whom follow are as nice as yours. Review the information provided for the trail you plan on using; obtain water level information to optimize your enjoyment and safety. While most trips are without mishap, be aware and prepared for potential hazards. For information about local outfitters, motels and restaurant’s contact the area Chambers of Commerce. , , .

Leave no-trace

Show respect by minimizing your presence and impact in all ways. Take pride in the ability to pass through the area without leaving any sign of your presence. Never discard garbage or food scraps in the swamp no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Such items pollute the environment and attract unwanted animals. Avoid disturbing wildlife (and other visitors) by keeping quiet and not approaching them too closely. Avoid disturbing plants and other natural features by leaving them in place and building fires only at designated sites. Deposit all human waste in a toilet. Campers on overnight canoe trips are required to use portable toilets between facilities. For information about how to enjoy the outdoors while “leaving no trace” visit .

Significant Factors Relating to the Delta Water Levels

Public use of all water routes within the Delta are greatly influenced by water levels of the area’s rivers. Trail routes within the northern portion of the Delta are especially influenced by water levels on the Alabama River. The first upstream impoundment on the Alabama River from the Delta is Claiborne Reservoir. Operation of Claiborne Dam by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the single most influential structure affecting the water levels on the upper Delta. Review the information provided with the respective trail descriptions for optimal water levels. This information is helpful in trip planning and trail selection. For water level information at Claiborne Dam, call 1-888-771-4601 and work through the Menu options to select Claiborne Dam tailwater, or check the Army Corps of Engineers’ websites at: Additional information can also be found at


While most canoeists and kayakers paddle the Delta without mishap, visitors need to be aware of
and prepared for potential hazards. Carry first-aid and survival kits. Keep them secure and
accessible, and be familiar with their use.

Alligators: American Alligators are common to the Delta, and offer visitor’s a unique
opportunity for wildlife watching. Beware of your surroundings, the time of the year and
alligator behaviors. Never feed alligators or approach a nest. On occasion visitors may find an
alligator uncomfortably close to or completely blocking the path. This is most likely to happen
when an alligator hauls out to sun on the bank of a narrow section of trail. Avoid simply trying
to pass quietly by an alligator in this situation. If the alligator suddenly feels threatened, it will
likely dash to the safety of deep water by the most direct route. If the alligator does not feel
threatened until visitors have paddled alongside, it may “escape” directly toward visitors. Never
get caught in the path of an alligator’s escape route to water.

Becoming lost: Once off-trail, there are a few helpful landmarks from which to regain bearings
in the Delta. Moving from North to South, all trails cross several man-made features, including
power line ROW, Gas line ROW, I-65 and the L and N RR trestle. Utilizing these landmarks
and maps the user can navigate back on course or to one of the several landings in the area.
Aside from extremely remote bayous and creeks, most waters are frequented by small motorized
craft on a regular basis. Another good idea is to have a float-plan buddy (someone not on the
trip) with whom visitors can leave a trip itinerary and whom visitors can inform of a safe return.

Heat exhaustion and Heat stroke: Heat exhaustion and heat stoke are real possibilities. Be
aware of their symptoms and the course of action one should take if a partner exhibits symptoms
of heat related problems. Drink plenty of water and avoid strenuous activity during the hottest
part of the day.

Hypothermia: Be aware of the symptoms. A dry change of clothes, dry sleeping bag, and dry
tent are essential, when treating someone with hypothermia. Keeping these items in dry gear
bags is a good idea when traveling in the Delta.

Insects that bite (and their relatives): Mosquitoes and deer flies (locally known as yellow
flies) are the most bothersome of the swamp’s biting insects. Mosquitoes can be active at any
time of the year during suitably warm weather, but are most numerous from April through
October. Deer flies are at their worst from May through September.

Poisonous snakes: Five different poisonous snakes occur in the Delta: Florida Cottonmouth (Water Moccasin), Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Canebrake (Timber) Rattlesnake, Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake and Eastern Coral Snake.

Thunderstorms and lightning: Thunderstorms are common afternoon and evening occurrences
from May through September.




©2004 Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources | 64 N. Union Street, Suite 468 - Montgomery, Alabama 36130

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