Happy Summer!!

Happy Summer!!

Wherever Home is Parked?

Wherever Home is Parked?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge

It was a ruff night for me.  It started with a aching tummy and then came the dreaded deed of having to sit on the pot over and over!  The way my tummy feels I think I also have a bladder infection.  The past few days with traveling and things I haven’t been emptying my bladder out like I’m suppose to and YESSS .. I know better.  With the rain and cold my back is also screaming!  I turned on the TV but there is nothing but junk on it.  Hubby hasn’t setup our satellite .. wishing he had.

I had to be up and ready to go by 10 AM as we had some plans to do some site seeing.  We were ready when Tommy and Diane came to pick us up.  First we did some site seeing of where they were raised as children, where they raised their children, where their children went to school.  It seems to be a very nice little town to raise a family.  Next on the list was Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge.


Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge is one of five refuges managed in the North Louisiana Refuge complex of over 550 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System.  It was established in 1997 through a unique partnership with the city of Monroe, Louisiana. 


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a free 99-year lease to manage the city-owned lake.   The 1,600 acre scenic lake, a central feature of the refuge, is studded with picturesque bald cypress and tupelo trees and surrounded by swamps that graduate into bottomland hardwoods and then into upland mixed pine/hardwoods.


The 4,500-acre refuge supports an excellent fisheries resource and provides valuable habitat for migratory waterfowl, neotropical migratory songbirds, and many resident wildlife species. Just north of Monroe off Hwy 165 on Richland Place, this semi-urban refuge is ideally located to provide a great place for wildlife and a great place for people to connect with the natural world.


This is what the house looked like when it was moved there.  Members of Friends of Black Bayou were instrumental in the restoration of this historic building, contributing countless house of labor and over $250,000.


This beautiful visitor center was built as a residence circa 1885 by Lemuel Dawson McLain and his wife Ann “Mattie” Crosley McLain.  In 1998, the house was moved from it’s original location approximately one –quarter miles east, under the big trees near the refuge shop.  When constructed, it was a simple country house.  It was “dressed up” in the early 1900’s with heavy turned balusters on the porch, staircase, cypress mantels and raised panel doors, and attic portholes.  The house was white as far back as people can remember, but its present green color was found closest to the wood. 


The property, known as Richland Plantation, was part of a large estate owned by J.P. and Martha Crosley that included Cottonport Plantation in West Monroe.  L.D. McLain managed the farming on these plantations.  He and Mattie lived in Monroe but often stated in this house.  When they came to Richland Plantation, Mattie referred to it as going “out to the country.”  At one time the community, which included the plantation with its many farm workers’ residences, the St. Timothy Church/school, and nearby store, was called Croseley. Louisiana. 


Cotton was farmed here until 2001.  The fields have been planted with a variety of trees, including many species that grew in the virgin bottomland hardwood forests of this area.   Today, the restored planter’s house, a historic barn, and two cemeteries are reminders of the 100 + years of cotton farming and the lives of people who lived on what is now known as Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge.


We had dressed in layers as it’s a nippy day but at least the sun was shining.  We walked the board walk although the only wildlife that was out was the ducks.


here is some of the wildlife that are here.  I took pictures of the signs since we didn’t see much today.


Inside of the museum we saw all of these creatures




cute little coon


the reptile display


this big fellow .. of course none of these are real


my favorite another turtle


Next was the bird display


they have some beautiful birds, but it was just too cold for them and I do not blame them


another display





next was over to the other museum where they had real creatures


Diane trying to get her hand eaten off!


they had baby alligators!




dead mice?



hmm snake skin? Guess that is why the mice were in the aquarium?


Yep there is the yucky creature!!


Lots of fish


We had a great time touring the refuge and it’s definitely worth seeing and the great thing about it … It’s free!!


Diane and I snuggling with the turtle for warmth


This wasn’t all we did today but I will save the rest for another day since I’ve loaded you down with lots of pictures today