Main fundraiser photo

Coates Bluff Nature Trail: Dream It Well

Tax deductible
The Coates Bluff Nature Trail is a success story that preserves our local heritage.
It's also one of the reasons I can't imagine leaving Shreveport. As an outdoor educator, I've never seen such an ideal setting -- the trail connects four schools. (Over the past ten years, hundreds of students have spent hundreds of hours walking its woods and canoeing its waters.) As a resident, I depend on walking access to this greenspace for my well-being -- the trail connects four neighborhoods. As a citizen of the planet, I am keenly aware of how crucial these places of connection with nature are becoming --
we cannot afford to lose this inner-city treasure.

Seventy-five percent of the land in the watershed that surrounds and once buffered the trail has been cleared and developed since 2009. My dream is for the Friends of the Coates Bluff Nature Trail, 501c3 to be able to purchase the now-for-sale and last undeveloped 48 acres protecting the trail in order to create an urban nature park. (Scroll down for the design.)

Your donation will go towards the maintenance and improvement of the existing trail and the realization of that dream.

Why this land matters.

From an ecological standpoint, further development within our watershed will have devastating effects on the remaining plants and animals in the form of
stormwater runoff, sediment pollution, diversity, and habitat loss. It will also further reduce the last sliver of land that connects the woods along the bayou with those along the Red River. Two years ago, a four-point buck used this to pass safely between the two. Wildlife corridors like this one, especially those with wetlands, are becoming increasingly rare and critical across the globe.

In 2009, one hundred volunteers removed several tons of trash from the area pictured above during a community cleanup. And every year since, the signs of health have been returning.

Three years ago hundreds of white pelicans rested here during migration. Last winter I watched a bald eagle take a fish from the water. This year it was a river otter...a "keystone" species indicating a healthy ecosystem. There's even a resident alligator.

And all of this is just a few blocks from where I both live and work.

The mission of the Friends of Coates Bluff Nature Trail 501c3, is to maintain and improve the trail as an inner-city, historical, ecological, and recreational treasure that supports place-based education and wellness.

Place-based education looks like hosting the monthly Second Saturday Community Trail Walk; Eagle Scouts restoring a trash screen and constructing a new bridge; 16 local 4-H students receiving a tour during Wetland Awareness Week, guided entirely by neighborhood elementary students who use the trail regularly; and an annual National Trails Day event that brings folks of every demographic from all over the city to walk, learn, and enjoy together.

Wellness looks like protecting inner-city woods and waters that serve families not able to access the proven therapeutic and developmental benefits of nature found in remote parks and wilderness areas. The integration of natural areas within our Shreveport/Bossier area is part of a current, global movement as featured in National Geographic’s article, "Urban Parks – bringing nature closer to home." (April 2016) Well-maintained greenspaces are also proven to increase property values.

But these are not the only reasons why Coates Bluff is so important. In 1989, a local high school teacher worked with her history club students to erect a historical marker. She wrote these words on the nomination form --

As the oldest existing landmark in Shreveport, Coates Bluff deserves proper recognition, preservation, and redevelopment. The site redevelopment would enhance the heritage of Shreveport.

Coates Bluff was, in fact, the first Caddo Indian trading post, first European settlement, and first post office in all of northwest Louisiana.

One of the largest logjams on the North American continent meant that the nearby Red River was unnavigable for hundreds of years. Displaced water created our local network of lakes and side bayous. Bayou Pierre was the preferred detour around what is now referred to as the Great Raft. It made the bluff a place of prominence for the Caddo Indian People long before Europeans arrived.

In addition, the Hopewell Cemetery which was registered with the state in 2011 is also found on the bluff. It is one of the oldest African-American cemeteries in our area.

Any ONE of these reasons is enough to take action. This unique greenspace has them ALL.

Your tax-deductible donation will help the Friends of Coates Bluff Nature Trail, 501c3 preserve this heritage, maintain and improve the trail, and create an urban nature park.

In the words of the poet, Devorah Major --
We are this place
Shaping its tomorrows
We need to dream it well.

Thank you!

Jon Soul

The Montessori School for Shreveport, teacher
Friends of the Coates Bluff Nature Trail, board member

For a detailed history of Coates Bluff, please watch A History of Coates Bluff by Caddo Magnet High School History Students and visit

*A big Barred Owl thank you to Luke Teutsch for the intro video!
** Intro video music: Kelvin Mockingbird "Spirit Shine"



  • Jeri McCartney Latham
    • $100 
    • 12 d
  • Thomas McCarty
    • $2,000 
    • 19 d
  • J Marshall Jones
    • $250 
    • 1 mo
  • Sherri Skrivanos
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
  • Antonio Pizarro
    • $100 
    • 3 mos

Fundraising team: Dream It Well Team (12)

Jon Soul
Shreveport, LA
Friends of the Coates Bluff Nature Trail
Anne-Marie Bruner-Tracey
Team member
April Dahm
Team member
Clyde Heberling
Team member
Dionne Procell-Brown
Team member

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