Kisatchie National Forest
Kisatchie National Forest, the only national forest in
Louisiana, is located in the state's old growth piney hills and hardwood bottoms of seven central and northern parishes. It totals more than 604,000 acres (2,440 km²) of public lands.
The forest was designated in 1930 during the administration of
U.S. President Herbert Hoover, based on efforts of the Louisiana Forestry Department and its botanistand preservationist Caroline Dormonof Natchitoches Parish.
Kisatchie National Forest provides opportunity for many kinds of recreation activities including: all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use, backpacking,
boating, camping, cycling, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, mountain biking, picnicing and swimming. The forest offers more than 40 developed recreation sites and over 100 miles (160 km) of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Headquartered in Pineville, Kisatchie National Forest operates five ranger districts in the [North Louisiana|north-central] area of the state: Calcasieu, Caney, Catahoula, Kisatchie and Winn. The forest lies in parts of seven parishes. In descending order of land area within the forest they are Grant, Natchitoches, Winn, Rapides, Vernon, Claiborne, and Webster parishes.
The Calcasieu Ranger district
The Calcasieu Ranger district is the southern most district, located between
Alexandria, Louisiana, Leesville, Louisianaand DeRidder. The district features Lakes Kincaidand Valentine, as well as the Wild Azalea National Recreation Trail. The Calcasieu's Vernon Unit is frequently utilized by neighboring Fort Polkfor training. The Evangeline Unit of the Calcasieu Ranger District also encompasses the remains of Camp Claiborne, a U.S. Army post during World War II. At it's peak, Camp Claibornewas the largest military installationin the United States. Today, part of the old camp is used as a U.S. Air Force bombing range.
*Other areas include The
Kincaid LakeDay-Use Area, the Kincaid Lake Group-Use Area, the Valentine LakeDay-Use Areas, Valentine Lake Group-Use Area, The Bayou BeoufResearch Natural Area, and Castor CreekScenic Area.
*Campgrounds inclide: Three Campgrounds at
Kincaid Lake, two campgrounds at Valentine Lake, the Claiborne Trails Camp, the Evangeline Camp, the Amus Melder Camp and the Boy Scout Camp.
*Trails include: The
Wild Azalea National Recreation Trail, the Claiborne Trails, the Kincaid LakeTrails, the Valentine LakeTrail, the Lamotte CreekTrail, the Ouiski Chitto CreekRecreation Trail and the Indian Ridge Trail.
The Caney Ranger district
The Caney Ranger district is located northeast of
Shreveportnear the Arkansasstate line. It boasts the Sugar Cane National Recreation Trailalong with Caney lakeand Corney Lakes. The Caney Ranger District, unlike the rest of the Kisatchie National Forest, began its life in the hands of the Depression-era Resettlement Administration, which bought up marginal upland farmland. The Caney was not turned over to the Forest Service until 1959.
The Catahoula Ranger district
The Catahoula Ranger district is located north of
Pineville. The district features Stuart LakeRecreation Complex; hiking and biking along the Glenn Emery Trail; the original Louisiana State Universitysite in Pineville; hunting in the National Catahoula Wildlife Management Preserve; and two ATV trails at located in old Camp Livingston. The remains of Camp Livingston, a World War II-era U.S. Army installation, lie almost completely in the Catahoula Ranger District. Livingston was one of the Army's large training facilities and was at the epicenter of the famed Louisiana Maneuvers. The "Maneuvers," two large war games which took place over the summers of 1940 and 1941, played a key role in the preparation of the U.S. military for World War IIcombat.
The Kisatchie Ranger district
The Kisatchie Ranger district is located between
Leesvilleand Natchitoches. The district includes the sandstone bluffs of the Longleaf Vista Recreation Area; the white sandy beaches and rocky rapids at Kisatchie Bayou Recreation Area; a wilderness challenge in the nationally designated Kisatchie Hills Wilderness; the convert|17|mi|km|sing=on Longleaf Trail Scenic Byway; an ATV trail on the Sandstone Multi-Use Trail; and the Caroline Dormon Horse Trail. In 2007, the Kisatchie Ranger District was singled out for a special Secretary of Agriculture award for heroism for actions relating to a 100-year flood that swept through the district.
The Winn Ranger District
The Winn Ranger District encompasses convert|164000|acre|km2 of
Winn Parish, Natchitoches Parish, and Grant Parishin North Louisiana. It is in close proximity to the Winnfield, Louisianaarea. Because of this close proximity, the Winn Ranger District and the Catahoula National Wildlife Management Preservehas become a very popular destination for hunters during hunting season.
Gum Springs Recreation Area located in an area of hilly terrain and
natural springs, Gum Springs Recreation Complexexhibits recreation design and construction from the Civilian Conservation Corpsera of the 1930s. Gum Springs campground offers basic recreation opportunities of picnicking and camping, and is close to Gum Springs Horse Camp and Trail. The area is being expanded. Cloud CrossingRecreation Complex lies directly on the banks of Saline Bayouand is an ideal put-in / take-out point for boating or canoeing.Approximately convert|21|mi|km of Saline Bayou was designated a National Wildand Scenic Riverbecause of its unique qualities. It is a peaceful setting, where bald cypressand other hardwoodsgrowing along the banks are often reflected in the bayou's quiet water. Dogwood Interpretive Trailwas sponsored by the ARRPand has a short for hiking trail.
The Kisatchie National Forest Heritage program
The Kisatchie National Forest Heritage program is responsible for protecting
archaeologicalsites and historic structures on the forest, including several Civilian Conservation Corps(CCC) structures dating to the 1930s and 1940's such as Gum Springs Recreation Area. The Heritage program is staffed by four talented district heritage personnel ( archaeologists) and a forest heritage program manager.
* [http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/kisatchie Kisatchie National Forest, federal website]
* [http://www.wlf.state.la.us/ Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries]
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