Attakapas Wildlife Management Area, located in upper St. Mary Parish and in parts of lower St. Martin and Iberia Parishes, was acquired in 1976. The center of the area is situated about 20 miles NW of Morgan City and 10 miles NE of Franklin. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns a small tract of land that is also managed by La. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Access to the 27,962 acre tract is by boat only, with major public launches available: (1) Millet Point, at St. Mary Parish Road 123, off of Hwy 87, (2) NNE of Charenton Of Hwy 326, (3) above Morgan City on Hwy 70, (4) off Hwy. 75 at Bayou Pigeon landing in Iberville Parish.
The terrain is characterized by flat swampland subject to periodic flooding and siltation from the Atchafalaya River. Areas adjacent to the River and spoil banks from dredging activities provide upland habitat and refuge areas during periods of high water. Many pockets in the management area have silted in and will continue to increase the land-to-water ratio.
The main overhead vegetation in the swamp is cypress and tupelo with some oak, maple and hackberry growing in the upland areas. Black willow is prevalent on the newly deposited lands, which are prevalent throughout the management area. Understory vegetation in upland tracts includes blackberry, deciduous holly, elderbery, and goldenrod. Greenbriars, peppervine, pokeweed, palmetto and switch cane. Common swamp plants are lizard tail, alligator weed, smartweed, coontail, pennywort and water hyacinth. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew caused wide scale destruction to the trees on Attakapas. The Department reforested many of the higher areas along the Atchafalaya River with cypress, ash, elm, water oak, nuttall oak, cherrybark oak, cow oak and other upland species. Also, roughly 30 miles of trails have been created and maintained around these reforested plots on the east and west sides of the Atchafalaya River.
Game animals most hunted on the management area are deer, rabbits and squirrels. Waterfowl hunting is also popular. Other animals present are beaver, nutria, otter, mink, muskrat, raccoon, bobcat, opossum, and alligator. Trapping is allowed for furbearing animals. Hawks, owls, shorebirds, and neo-tropical migrants are also present.
Crawfish, found throughout the spillway, provide commercial and recreational opportunities. Major fish caught in the area include catfish, mullet, bass, bluegill, gar, bowfin, and freshwater drum.
The self-clearing permit is required for hunters only. There are three primitive, remote camping areas on Attakapas. There is one camping area with picnic tables and running water located on St. Mary Parish Road 123 near Millet Point. Additional information may be obtained may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 5652 Hwy 182, Opelousas, Louisiana 70570.