Northeast Louisiana is home to a variety of outdoor terrains – from prairies to upland hardwood forests to delta plains. Bottomland hardwoods and pines represent the prime habitats found in the region’s protected land. Totaling more than 200,000 acres, these lands include:
- Five national wildlife refuges
- Nine wildlife management areas
- Five state parks
- Two state historic sites
Each area offers activities and educational opportunities. National wildlife refuges in particular focus on conserving the area’s habitat and wildlife. These protected areas cover approximately 70,000 acres and allow activities that minimally impact the environment, including hiking, boating, photography, wildlife viewing, restricted fishing and restricted hunting.
State parks and wildlife management areas allow additional activities such as boat rentals, overnight cabins, convenience camping and water sports. While visitors can explore the land, they also benefit from on-site education centers. State parks and historic sites frequently maintain visitor centers and additional facilities offering exhibits, books, videos and other educational resources.
In and around protected areas, interlocking bayous and rivers offer numerous boating and fishing opportunities in a still and scenic environment. Bayou Bartholomew in Morehouse Parish and Ouachita River in Union Parish represent two destinations popular among outdoor enthusiasts, with winding, scenic routes passing through a national wildlife refuge and a state park, respectively. Bayou Bartholomew is the longest bayou in North America, stretching from the Arkansas floodplain and flowing 350 miles south into the Mississippi River. The bayou contains well over 100 species of fish – among the highest variety counts for any stream in North America.