camping,  Outdoor recreation

Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge offers outdoor activities – Houma Courier

The Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge was established on May 2, 1996, and it is located five miles southwest of Houma.

Visitors can find a wide variety of outdoor activities to enjoy at the refuge such as fishing, hunting, hiking, birding and wildlife viewing.

“The refuge is comprised of 4,416 acres of freshwater marshes and cypress-tupelo swamps as it provides excellent habitat for waterfowl, wading birds, and neotropical songbirds, as well as nursery areas for alligators and fish,” Assistant Manager Brian Pember said. 

Access to the refuge is free to the public, but it is mainly by boat, even though the hiking trail located on Bayou Black Drive, Houma, is accessible by car.

“(The trail) is a leisurely half an hour walk that takes (hikers) to an observation deck that overlooks a marsh,” Pember said. “It is a great place for look for migrating and resident birds.”

Visitors can look for shorebirds, waterfowl and alligators from the observation point at the end of the trail.

“Deep canals border and transect the refuge on both sides of the Intracoastal Waterway, providing fishing opportunities and a chance to see basking alligators,” Pember said.

The largest open water area in the refuge is Lake Hatch, and this shallow lake is a popular place to fish for bass, crappie, bream and catfish.

The Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge is one of eight refuges of the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex based in Lacombe.

For information, visit the refuge website, www.fws.gov/refuge/Mandalay/.

Staff Writer Andrea Mujica can be reached at 857-1148 or [email protected] Follow her on twitter @CationM.

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