Floy Ward McElroy Henry donated a 681acre tract in Richland Parish, two miles north of Rayville, to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in 1990 for the purpose of establishing a wildlife refuge and wildlife management area. Mrs. McElroy retained use of the property until her death in November 2000. Mrs. McElroy mandated that the Floy Ward McElroy WMA be use restricted for outdoor education and youth hunting activities. The WMA is not open to vehicular traffic on a daily basis.
The property consists of pastures with scattered hardwood timber, a band of hardwoods along the Boeuf River, and one stand of approximately 20 acres of bottomland hardwoods. Sloughs and backwater areas are found along the Boeuf River, which borders the property for a distance of four miles. Cattle production was the primary use of the tract during Mrs. McElroy?s ownership. Department personnel have planted 240 acres of the pastures with hardwood seedlings.
Timber species on the area include water oak, willow oak, cherrybark oak, cow oak, Shumard oak, overcup oak, Nuttall oak, white oak, post oak, hickory, sweet pecan, bitter pecan (water hickory), sweetgum, sycamore, basswood, elm, cypress, swamp cottonwood, persimmon, and honey locust. The forest is very fragmented with many trees occurring along old fencerows and river scars.
A swamp-like 32-acre lake was created in the early 1980's when beavers impounded a scar of the Boeuf River. Permanent water has killed most of the timber on the site, except cypress. Black willow, water elm, and buttonbush are present. This wetland is providing habitat for wood ducks, wintering waterfowl, wading birds, shore birds, alligators, and wetland mammals. An observation platform has been constructed overlooking the lake.
An access road and parking areas have been constructed. Additional development plans include a fishing pond and nature trails.
Additional information may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 368 CenturyTel Drive, Monroe, Louisiana 71203. Phone (318) 343-4044.