This year, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (LDWF) celebrates 50 years of the Scenic Rivers Act. The Louisiana Legislature created the Louisiana Natural and Scenic Rivers System in 1970. From small creeks to large rivers, LDWF administers the Scenic Rivers System, in which there are approximately 80 streams or stream segments thereof, constituting an estimated 3,100 miles of the state’s streams, rivers and bayous.
LDWF’s Scenic Rivers Program preserves, protects, develops, reclaims, and enhances the wilderness qualities, scenic beauties, and ecological regimes of designated free-flowing Louisiana rivers, streams, bayous, and segments thereof. It is one of the largest, if not the largest, programs of its kind in the country.
LDWF partnered with Louisiana Wildlife Federation, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana and Pontchartrain Conservancy for a photo contest to promote the beauty of Louisiana’s designated natural and scenic rivers. Below is a slideshow of the winning photos. You can also see all of the winning entries at https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/myscenicriver.
In addition to the photo contest, LDWF has also released a series of videos highlighting some of the state’s scenic rivers.
Cane Bayou, located in St. Tammany Parish, offers a mile-long scenic paddle before emptying into Lake Pontchartrain. Egrets, herons, and other wildlife can be seen while floating through the marsh. The pine forests offers habitat ideal for species like endangered red cockaded woodpecker, which has very specific habitat requirements.
Watch the Scenic River highlight of Cane Bayou:
Whiskey (Ouiska) Chitto, located in southwest Louisiana, was one of the first streams designated as a Natural & Scenic River 50 years ago. Several rare species call this area home such as the Calcasieu Creek crawfish and alligator snapping turtle. Archaeologists have confirmed at least 13 Native American sites – some dating back at least 1,500 years. Whiskey Chitto is a popular tubing destination with sandy beaches and pine bluffs that offer a nice getaway on a hot summer day.
Watch the Scenic River highlight of Whiskey (Ouiska) Chitto:
Testimonial videos from recreational users across the state describe the importance of our scenic rivers to them. Two of LWF’s board members (Charles Williams and Zac Burson) have contributed their testimonials!
You can help continue the celebration by using the #MyScenicRiver hashtag whenever posting to social media any photos, video or other media while out and about in the Scenic River System.
Congratulations to LDWF for 50 years of protecting and preserving our state’s beautiful free-flowing streams!