Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is located approximately 25 miles west of New Orleans and along the south shore of Lake Maurepas west to near Sorrento. The WMA includes property in Ascension, Livingston, St. John the Baptist, St. James and Tangipahoa parishes.
Two tracts totaling some 61,633 acres were donated to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (LDWF) by the Richard King Mellon Foundation in the summer of 2001. Between 2002 and 2011, LDWF added nearly 12,000 acres to the WMA through acquisitions and donations. In early 2012, LDWF acquired from The Conservation Fund an additional 29,630 acres, formerly known as the MC Davis Tract, which joined the existing east and west WMA tracts for public outdoor recreation use. Subsequent property acquisitions, including the Rathborne, Boyce, and Crusel tracts, have raised the WMA acreage total to 122,098.
The majority of access into the area is by boat, but there are several portions that can be accessed by foot. Major highways crossing through the area are Interstate 10, Interstate 55, US 61, US 51, and LA 641. Major waterways in the area are Blind River and the Reserve Flood Relief Canal. There are 16 check stations located throughout the area where the public can obtain required self clearing permits to enter the area.
Major topography consists of flooded cypress tupelo swamp. Water levels in this area are influenced by rain, wind, and tides. Heavy rains accompanied with east winds cause extensive flooding of the area for days at a time. Other vegetation found on the WMA includes bulltongue, cattail, submerged aquatics, red maple, American elm, sugarberry, Nutall oak, water oak, and obtusa oak. Invasive species include water hyacinth, Bidens sp. “fourchette," and an aquatic fern known as common salvinia. The presence of this invasive vegetation has made much of the area unsuitable for the large numbers of waterfowl that historically overwintered in this vast swamp.
There are numerous outdoor recreational activities for the public to pursue on this WMA. The most sought after species of game are white-tailed deer, squirrels, and rabbits. Freshwater fish, such as largemouth bass, sunfish, and crappie are also pursued on the area. Contract trapping for alligators and permit trapping for nutria is allowed each year. Bird watching, sightseeing, and boat riding are several other forms of recreation allowed on the WMA. A half mile long nature trail is located on the east side of US 51 approximately half mile north of Peavine Road in Laplace. Two tent-only camping areas were established in 2012. One camping area is located on the New River Canal and the other on Reserve Canal (see WMA map for designated camping areas location).
Maurepas Swamp WMA supports numerous bird species throughout the year. Bald eagles and osprey nest in and around the WMA. Numerous species of neotropical migrants utilize this coastal forest habitat during fall and spring migrations. Resident birds, including wood ducks, black-bellied whistling ducks, egrets, and herons can be found on the WMA year round.
Future plans for the Maurepas Swamp WMA including the placement and monitoring of additional wood duck nest boxes, cooperative freshwater reintroduction projects designed to revive the swamp and improved control of invasive plant species that have overtaken much of this important and scenic swamp.
Additional information can be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Wildlife Division field office, 42371 Phyllis Ann Drive, Hammond, LA. 70403. Phone (985) 543-4777.
Joyce WMA is a 27,487 acre tract located in southern Tangipahoa Parish five miles south of Hammond, LA. The 12,809 acres that originally comprised the WMA was donated by the Joyce Foundation in 1982. In 1994, an additional 2,250 acres was donated to LDWF by the Guste Heirs. The 8,364 acre Salmen/Octavia Tract was acquired in 2008 and the 2,729 acre Dendinger Tract was acquired in 2010. An additional 851 acres and 484 acres are leased from the Joyce Foundation and the Tangipahoa Parish School Board, respectively.
This entire area is a wetland within the Pontchartrain Basin and consists primarily of cypress-tupelo swamp. A large portion of the area is a dense shrub-marsh community with red maple, wax-myrtle, red bay, and younger cypress-tupelo. A 500 acre fresh marsh of primarily maiden-cane is located on the northern portion of the property. Recently, a Limited Access Area (LAA) was established in the northwestern corner of Joyce WMA. The LAA prohibits the use of internal combustion engines year-round (see WMA map for specific location).
The most sought game animals on Joyce WMA include white-tailed deer, waterfowl, rabbit and squirrel. Freshwater fish, including largemouth bass, sunfish, and catfish are also pursued on the area. Alligators and a variety of other herpetofauna are common on this WMA. Bald eagles and osprey nest in and around the WMA. Numerous other species of birds, including neotropical migrants, utilize this coastal forest during fall and spring migrations. Resident waterfowl, including wood ducks, mottled ducks, hooded mergansers, and black-bellied whistling ducks, are found on the area year-round. Over 50 wood duck nesting boxes are maintained and monitored on the area.
Public Use (see WMA map for specific locations of features noted below)
Access into the interior of the property is limited and there are no roads that lead into the swamp. Common means of access are several abandoned logging canals that enter the area from the west off of US 51. These old logging runs are narrow and travel is limited to pirogues and canoes and then only during moderate-high water periods. Access by outboard motor is limited to the upper reaches of Middle Bayou and Black Bayou, as well as the Tangipahoa River and Bedico Creek. There is a public boat launch on North Pass at US 51. Other access points include Lee’s Landing and Traino Landing, south of LA 22. Check station kiosks where the public can acquire the required self clearing permits to enter the area are located throughout the area.
An elevated boardwalk “Swamp Walk” constructed in 1990 provides WMA visitors with the opportunity to view the swamp interior and observe the associated wildlife and vegetation.
Please refer to the WMA rules and regulations within the current La. Hunting Regulations booklet for permitted activities. In addition to hunting, trapping, and fishing, other common activities on the WMA include sightseeing, boating, birdwatching and frogging. Contract trapping for alligators and permit trapping for nutria is allowed each year. Please note that Joyce WMA is a site along the American Wetlands Birding Trail.
An elevated boardwalk “Swamp Walk” constructed in 1990 provides WMA visitors with the opportunity to view the swamp interior and observe the associated wildlife and vegetation. [The Swamp Walk is temporarily closed for re-construction.]
This area comprised of 3,514 acres owned by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and 181 acres leased from the Tangipahoa Parish School Board, is located approximately 10 miles northeast of Amite, Louisiana in Tangipahoa Parish.
The area is divided into two separate tracts near Wilmer, LA. The larger tract being north of LA Hwy. 10 and the smaller one south of Hwy. 10. Most of the rolling hill terrain is young longleaf pine with only a small portion of the area composed of mature trees.
The area is primarily managed for upland game birds such as quail and doves. Field trial courses and trails have also been established. Quail, dove, and woodcock hunting is considered good on the area. Deer, turkey, and squirrel hunting is considered fair due to habitat limitations.
A food plot program is conducted in an attempt to increase the wildlife use on the area, as well as hunter success.
Although the WMA is small as compared to other WMAs, it is a valuable research area. Numerous habitat, game, and non-game studies have been and are being conducted on the area.
Additional information may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Wildlife Division, 42371 Phyllis Ann Rd. Hammond, LA 70403 985-543-4777
In April of 2003 the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries entered into an agreement with the Tangipahoa Parish School Board to free-lease some of their "16" sections. The intent of both parties is to better manage wildlife and insure continued public access. The tracts leased are relatively small and scattered throughout the Parish but do offier the Public additional outdoor recreational opportunties. The first tract is located in the center of the Parish, south of La. Hwy. 16. It contains 347 acres of upland pine habitat actively managed for loblolly pine timber production. The site consists of timber stands of various ages with scattered hardwoods. Access is via Neal Road west of Briar Patch Road and La. Hwy. 445. Game species found on site include whitetail deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, mourning dove, bobwhite quail, and woodcock. The second site is also found south of La. Hwy. 16 and can be accessed by heading south on the Dummyline Road at the Sharon M.B. Church. This 649 acre tract is bordered on the east by the Hillcrest School Road. Longleaf pine, loblolly pine and mixed pine/hardwood habitats occur on this site. Again whitetail deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, mourning dove bobwhite quail, and woodcock occur on this site. The third site is located North of La. HWY. 38, near Lewiston. It can be accessed via Brumfield Lane. Whitetail deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, mourning dove, bobwhite quail and woodcock occur on the site. All sites require self-clearing permits. Hunting seasons on the three tracts are the same as outside except still hunt only for deer; beagles are only allowed for rabbits Jan. 24-Feb. 28; squirrel dogs are only permitted Jan. 24-Feb. 28 and Nightime raccoon hunting allowed Jan. 24-Feb. 28. No horseback riding during gun season for deer or turkey and no ATVs are allowed. For more information contact the Region 7 office at 225/765-2360.
42371 Phyllis Ann Rd. Hammond, LA 70403 985-543-4777