Kisatchie National Forest

Kisatchie National Forest is located in northern areas of Louisiana and is the only national forest in that state. This national forest was established in 1930 by Hoover, thanks to the influence of Caroline Dormon, a preservationist and botanist, and the Louisiana Forestry Department. It is separated into five ranger districts known as Calcasieu, Caney, Catahoula, Kisatchie and Winn districts and protects the Kisatchie Hills Wilderness.

The Calcasieu district is located in the southern area of the Kisatchie National Forest and is separated into two units known as the Evangeline and Vernon units. The Evangeline unit holds many features including Valentine and Kincaid Lakes and the Wild Azalea National Recreation Trail, as well as many campgrounds. The Vernon unit offers visitors many activities including boating, wildlife viewing, and hiking. This area of the forest holds a variety of animal species including the threatened red-cockaded woodpecker and the wild turkey.

The Caney Ranger district is separated into three units, known as the Caney Lake, the Middle Fork, and the Corney Lake units. The Caney and Corney Lake units both offer boating, camping, and hiking, while the Middle Fork unit only offers hunting in two locations, but these areas can also be used for nature viewing. The Catahoula Ranger district features the Catahoula National Wildlife Management Preserve, the Stuart Lake Recreation Complex, the Stuart Seed Orchard, and the Catahoula Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden. Visitors can partake in camping, hunting, hiking, and biking in this area of the forest.

The Kisatchie Ranger district of the forest holds Longleaf Vista Recreation Area, which features sandstone bluffs, Sandstone Multi-Use Trail, and other recreational areas. The Winn Ranger district offers a variety of activities thanks to its environment, which features hilly areas with springs, including boating, hunting, hiking, camping, and picnicking.

Kisatchie National Forest is an important area for wildlife conservation, because it holds pristine habitats that support both abundant and endangered species. Two areas within the forest, known as Cunningham Brake and Saline Bayou, do not have roads because they are highly damaging to wildlife. Archeological conservation is also conducted in forest under the Kisatchie National Forest Heritage program, which protects historic structures and archeological sites.

Image Caption: Kisatchie National Forest steps. Credit: Xiaphias/Wikipedia