Release Date: 04/06/2006

2006-109 - Photos available upon request.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) presented plaques to the Louisiana Office of State Parks for their endowment of three different tracts of land to the Louisiana Natural Areas Registry at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission's April meeting.

The awards were given to Office of State Parks Assistant Secretary Dr. Stuart Johnson on behalf of the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program (LNHP), which oversees the Louisiana Natural Areas Registry and falls within LDWF.

The three tracts of land include Big Cypress Natural Area, Tunica Hills State Preservation Natural Area and Bogue Chitto State Park Natural Area.

Big Cypress Natural Area consists of 181 acres and is located east of Lucky in Bienville Parish in northwestern Louisiana.  It is considered an old growth forest because it contains one of the last areas where a significant number of extremely large cypress trees can be found.  These trees are about 1,500 years old and range from 18-to-26 feet around.  The area also contains two rare state plants and provides habitat for bald eagles.

Bogue Chitto State Park Natural Area is located in Washington Parish west of the Bogue Chitto River and consists of 55 acres.  This area is considered a hardwood slope forest that consists of beech, Southern magnolia and white oak.  Hardwood slope forests occur on slopes rising out of small stream floodplains that dissect pinelands.  The area contains three rare plants and the rare Southern red salamander.

Tunica Hills State Preservation Natural Area consists of 2,292 acres in West Feliciana Parish near the Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area.  This area is also considered an old growth forest.  The rare Southern mesophytic hardwood forest is the primary natural community on this area.  It is the home to 19 rare plant species and 10 rare animal species.

The Louisiana Natural Areas Registry now has 86 registry areas covering almost 40,000 acres.  For more information on the registry program, please visit LDWF's Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov and then choose "Conservation Programs" from the "Experience Wildlife" drop down menu at the top of the page.  Then click on the "Land" link and finally the "Natural Areas Registry" link.

EDITORS: For more information, contact Gary Lester at 225-765-2823 or glester@wlf.louisiana.gov.