Barataria Preserve

Snowy egret standing on a log

Over 200 species of birds call the Barataria Preserve home or use it as a stopover on migrations. Look for snowy egrets near water where they'll be hunting for food.

Wanda Lee Dickey


Special course: The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries will offer a free one-day boating education course at the Barataria Preserve Environmental Education Center. A vessel operators certification card is issued to participants who successfully complete this course. Note that all persons born after January 1, 1984, must complete this course to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower. The course includes information on choosing a boat, legal requirements, navigation rules and charts, and more. Free but space limited so call the preserve visitor center 504-689-3690 ext. 10 for reservations. 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Saturday, September 5.

Beginners bird walk - Learn to find and identify preserve birds by sight and by sound, then join the worldwide birding community with a lesson in how to use the preserve's eBird kiosk to report sightings. For beginners age 10 and up, but all skills levels are welcome. Bring binoculars, spotting scopes, and field guides if you have them. Free but space limited so call 504-689-3690 ext. 10 for reservations. 8:00-10:00 a.m., Saturday, September 12.

Volunteer project: Roll up your sleeves and give your public lands a helping hand on Saturday, September 26, 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. It's National Public Lands Day, and you can work on clean-up and fix-up projects at the Barataria Preserve or at Chalmette Battlefield/Chalmette National Cemetery. Information about registration, who can join the hard-working fun, and what to bring is at the link.

Special exhibit: "Louisiana: Close to Home and Close to Heart" is a collection of works by local photographer Lane Lefort. Lefort captures the constantly changing world of coastal Louisiana; his work was recently featured in "I Remember....," an exhibit that traveled throughout Louisiana under the sponsorship of the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act program. Free. Now through Sunday, November 1.

Hunting permits: Applications for permits to hunt at the Barataria Preserve during the 2015-2016 season will be issued beginning Saturday, September 5. The last day to apply for a permit is Thursday, October 1.

Important information:

  • Deer fly alert: It's deer fly season, so be on the lookout for these biting flies. Most insect sprays will not deter them; long sleeves, long pants, and a hat are your best protection.
  • 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.
  • Summer camps for kids---see you in 2016!

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.


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