Barataria Preserve

Image of three turtles sunning themselves on a log in a bayou

Spring is here! Watch for turtles, alligators, and snakes enjoying the sunshine in and along the Barataria Preserve bayous.

 

Field trip requests: As of April 17, all slots are now full for ranger-led school field trips through the end of the school year. Note that teachers and other field trip leaders are welcome to bring groups out on their own to walk the trails, use the Pecan Grove picnic area, and explore the visitor center. If you plan to bring a group on your own, please call the Barataria Preserve Visitor Center at 504-689-3690 ext. 10 to let the rangers know; they will be able to tell you if other large groups are expected when you plan to visit.


Bloomin' in the Bayou Spring Wildflower Walk: Take a leisurely guided stroll along a boardwalk trail and discover the wildflowers of the Louisiana wetlands. Learn some basic botany as a bonus! Free but space limited so reservations required; call the preserve at 504-689-3690 ext. 10. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 9.

Exhibit: "I Remember..." highlights the changes that have occured along the Gulf Coast through photographs by Lane Lefort and paintings of bygone days by Marian Brister Martinez. Oral histories available via smart phone share stories from oystermen, scientists, a member of the United Houma Nations, coastal restoration specialists, and more. Produced by the Public Outreach Committee of the coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act Task Force, a federal, state, and local partnership dedicated to restoring the Gulf Coast. Through June 28. Free.


Important information:

  • Never approach, harass, or feed alligators. Remember that they are wild animals and can move very quickly. You can find more information about safety and outdoor activities at the preserve at the safety page.
  • Although canoeing and kayaking have been a favorite Barataria Preserve activity in the past, most waterways are currently impassable due to several years of heavy growth by aquatic vegetation. The National Park Service is working to secure funding for longterm waterways management. At this time, do not plan to canoe or kayak in the preserve; information will be posted here if the situation changes.
  • Pets are only allowed in parking areas and on the deck at the visitor center; pets in these areas must be on a leash and a human must be on the other end of the leash. Do not leave pets unattended in vehicles; pets in vehicles must have a human in the vehicle with them. Please clean up after your pet. Although service animals assisting people with visual, hearing, or mobility impairments are welcome everywhere, note that the presence of wildlife may mean that service animals may not be comfortable on preserve trails.


 

The Barataria Preserve outside Marrero offers a taste of Louisiana's wild wetlands. The preserve's 23,000 acres include bayous, swamps, marshes, forests, alligators, nutrias, and over 200 species of birds (learn more about preserve wildlife here). Boardwalk and dirt trails wind through the preserve; check out the trail map, enjoy a self-guided tour, or explore with a cell phone tour. Exhibits at the preserve visitor center highlight how the Mississippi River built Louisiana's wetlands, the national importance of the area, and the relation between the land and its people. Kids can earn a badge with the Junior Ranger program. An environmental education center is used for field trips and special programs. The center's museum store has books, music, children's books, insect repellent, field guides, and more on sale. Admission to the preserve is free. Follow these links for the park's calendar of events, exhibits, and programs; for directions and transportation options; and for accessibility information.

6588 Barataria Boulevard, Marrero (near Crown Point) (If you use a GPS system, doublecheck it with the map since not all systems find the preserve successfully)
504-689-3690 ext. 10
Visitor center is open Wednesday-Sunday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; closed on federal holidays and Mardi Gras (Tuesday, February 17, in 2015). Parking lots are open for access to trails daily including federal holidays 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. except on Mardi Gras, when the preserve is completely closed. Links to useful information like maps, public transportation, pets, permits for special uses, etc., are available on the basic information page; there's also information about the preserve at the Barataria Preserve Frequently Asked Questions page.

Regularly-scheduled programs

  • Field trips for schools and other groups by reservation.
  • Girl and Boy Scout programs.
  • Wetlands walk 10:00 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Join a ranger for a guided walk through wild Louisiana swamp and marsh. Stop by the visitor center to find out which trail the day's walk will explore. Free.
  • Ranger's choice talk 2:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Nature, human history, fascinating critters, emerging ecological challenges: there are a lot of stories in Louisiana's wetlands! Depending on weather and topic, 15-minute talk will either be at the visitor center or on the Visitor Center Trail; stop by the visitor center just before 2:00 for location update. Free.
  • Summer camps for kids.

Learn about

  • BioBlitz 2013: In May 2013, Jean Lafitte teamed up with National Geographic for BioBlitz 2013 at the Barataria Preserve, a 24-hour blitz of scientific discovery that attempted to inventory as many of the preserve's plants and animals as possible. You can learn more about this partnership between the National Park Service and National Geographic here. The BioBlitz page also has links to National Geographic science and nature webpages.
  • the Active Trails program and how you can participate.
  • research at the Barataria Preserve.
  • more things to do in Jefferson Parish, where the preserve is located.
  • the town of Jean Lafitte, right down the road from the preserve.
 
Image of green tree frog clinging to plant stem

Take another look at that plant stem you're passing: is that a green tree frog camouflaging itself in the vegetation?

Wanda Lee Dickey

Follow the link to learn about animals and plants in south Louisiana and remember that you can report all bird and animal sightings at the preserve visitor center to help with park research and management.

 

Did You Know?