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Confusions About Lousina Lands and Waters Accessible to the Public

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Hello. I currently live in Wyoming but am originally from Costal Texas. Ever since I've moved I've missed the Gulf and intend to eventually move back to it. I'd very muck like to make the move to Costal Louisiana, because I like coastal fishing and think swamps/bayous are amazing ecosystems and would love to spend lots of time there. Navigating bayous and backwaters in my John boat with my dog on a regular basis has always been a dream of mine. However, I'm very much confused about what type of swamp you are allowed to access. I always assumed it would be somewhat similar to the way it is with rivers (if it is navigable you can often navigate it), however, with some research this obviously not the case. For instance, in the Atchafalaya Swamp I can find two large pieces that are publicly owned: the Atchafalaya NWR (federal) and the Atchafalaya Delta (state). Is everything else in the Atchafalaya Swamp privately owned and inaccessible to the public? Are there types of waters the public is necessarily allowed to access? Please help clarify things for me.

Also, if anyone would like to suggest any places of Costal Louisiana that have what I'm looking for (accessible backwaters and swamps/bayous) please feel free to do so.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Confusions About Lousina Lands and Waters Accessible to the
It really depends on what you intend to do. If you want to float/paddle/fish then probably 90% of the water you see on the map is open to you. The leagalities are complex (any waterway MAPPED in the early surveys of the state in the 1800s, is public .Ditto state and federal lands, some parish lands and publicly built artificial waterways); practically however asside of a few areas of gated canals and posted waterways we still fish where we like from a watercraft.

If you intend to hike/camp/hunt then you are restricted to WMAs, NWRs, State and Federal parks, NFS lands and some state refuges (not all of these will feature all of the afore mentioned activities and each will have their own site specific regs). Beyond those public areas you need land owner permission (read 'a lease') to wander.

This is not as limiting as it sounds: we have a lot of public land. Let's take for instance the atchafalaya basin. There you have the Sherburne WMA at 44,000 acres, Attakapas WMA at 27,062 acres, Elm Hall WMA at 2839 acres, and Atchafalaya Delta WMA with 137,695 acres plus some COE land at Indian Bayou that I can't pull up the specifics of at work but it several thousand more acres.
Bascically a quarter million acres of swamp and marsh in one area. Plus another quarter million acres or more in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin between Maurepas Swamp WMA, Joyce WMA, Manchac WMA, Bayou Sauvage NWR, Big Branch NWR, Pearl River WMA, Delta NWR, Pass a Loutre WMA and Biloxi WMA.

If I could pick exactly where to live without work constraints I would probably pick Luling LA which is central to the to above listed basins and at the head of a third (Barataria Basin) but still pretty flood proof and a safe community. If you want full immersion in the wetlands in an urban setting then Morgan City or Chalmette are options. If you want NOLA acess without living in the DRAMA then Metairie is the ticket. If you don't mind hualing your boats a ways then Mandeville and Prairieville are options.

In general the further west you go the less public land in the wetlands you will find so I would stay east of Latayette personally.
Hope this helps , and realize the list of public lands above is FAR from complete!
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Re: Confusions About Lousina Lands and Waters Accessible to the
Go out and have fun, plenty water to use, just be courteous to others.
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Re: Confusions About Lousina Lands and Waters Accessible to the
Thank for the responses. I have to say that Saint Mary Parish (where the above suggested Morgan City is located) sounds appealing because it is on the coast, round about where the Atchafalaya flows into the gulf, and isn't too close to Baton Rouge or New Orleans. Of course there is a lot more to consider than just physical characteristics of place when making a move, but it seems like a good place to start looking. Logically, I should probably consider Costal Mississippi as well, but I can't settle myself with the thought of putting down roots east of the Big River.
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Re: Confusions About Lousina Lands and Waters Accessible to the
Hahaha, you would need to visit Morgan City first. It's really a unique place and also kinda far from saltwater fishing. I picked Luling as my #1 spot becauses it's a little more central to the area and a little more typical suburb. But hey Morgan City is really the gateway to the basin and it's certainly as far in the swamp as you can be and have levee protection. Really New Orleans is a compact city and living NEAR it is just fine.
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Re: Confusions About Lousina Lands and Waters Accessible to the
I am born and raised in Morgan City. Fished and hunted all of my life in the area. Check out my reports on this site as well as my column Public Rambling the link is http://www.louisianasportsman.com/details.php?id=9439. I can probably tell you anything you need to know about this area if you would like.
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Re: Confusions About Lousina Lands and Waters Accessible to the
Interesting reading:
...Robert Gillespie James (born 1946) is a United States District Court judge, Western Division of Louisiana, and was one of the judges involved in a 2006 water rights legal case, Normal Parm v. Sheriff Mark Shumate...

...On August 29, 2006, James overruled Magistrate Judge James D. Kirk, who wrote that Federal law '...entitles the public to the reasonable use of navigable waters for all legitimate purposes of travel or transportation, for boating, sailing for pleasure, as well as for carrying persons or property for hire, and in any kind of watercraft the use of which is consistent with others also enjoying the right possessed in common.' The holding confirmed that it was criminal trespass for boaters to enter property above the ordinary high-water mark of riparian landowners to fish or hunt without permission.[1] Strictly interpreting Federal law, James said that 'the public has no 'right to fish and hunt on the Mississippi River.'' [2] The original case was the result of the arrests of several anglers who were fishing in Mississippi River floodwaters, which had covered the private property of the Walker Cottonwood Farm. [3] The case shows that the public trust rights associated with navigable waterways do not extend to 'flooded' areas...

Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_G._James
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Re: Confusions About Lousina Lands and Waters Accessible to the
The problem is that what's navigable in LA is a bit more complicated that most states. The most notable example is Four Horse Lake missing the original map makers attentions and thus being excluded. However from the OP's prospective it isn't overly important since the owners of most such waterways don't close them to boat traffic.
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Re: Confusions About Lousina Lands and Waters Accessible to the
Morgan City being south centrally located in the state is really diverse. Because we are on the Atchafalaya (with all of the fresh water coming down), access to salt water is more of a boat ride than our neighbors to the east and west. As stated before, if you want beautiful swamp settings, just put over at any ramp in Morgan City or Berwick and you're in it. The same goes for Stephensville, Bell River and Pierre Part to the north. Houma is a short 30 minute drive from MC and closer to Dularge, Cocodrie and Point aux Chenes where you're in Salt water when you launch. Further to the East (down da bayou) you have Golden Meadow and Grand Isle. I'm glad I don't have to make the decision you're having to make as our entire coast is wonderful when it comes to nature, hunting and fishing. lol.
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