Heart of Louisiana: Woodlands Conservancy

Updated: Apr. 7, 2020 at 9:45 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As everyone follows orders to stay home, but still get some fresh air and take a walk, there’s a place that’s a short drive from New Orleans where you can immerse yourself in nature.

There is an easy hike at Woodlands Trail and Park in Belle Chasse, where there is lots of space to keep your distance.

It’s only a 15 mile drive from New Orleans but the Woodland Trails in Belle Chasse put you in the middle of an urban wilderness.

“It’s 650 acres. It has over 10 miles of trails. It’s both hiking trails and equestrian trails,” says Katie Braested, Executive Director of the Woodland Conservancy.

Katie manages the sparsely used trails.

“It is a forested wetland, so it’s seasonally wet and dry and has a lot of cypress. The further you go back, the lower the property gets. And so it’s a much more wetter environment,” says Braested.

For families, social distancing is not a problem and nature provides a bit of welcome relief from working and schooling at home.

When you get about a mile down the trail, one of the favorite things to see are the giant balls, cypress streets and all of their needles are bright green this time of year.

“We’re used to a normal routine and this situation has kind of thrown us out of sorts, but, you know, we’re trying to put it back together and find a new normal,” says Megan Clifford.

“Well, I was pretty glad I found a few tracks. I found a coyote, a deer, a horse,” says Brady Clifford.

“This is our first time here,” says James Dunn. “It’s kind of amazing to see this so close to the city. So, yeah, it’s been a nice morning out here and trying to enjoy it before the weather gets too hot. It is nice.”

“It’s been different because the kids are at home with us. But, on the weekends we’ve been trying to get out and visit different places in the state. We need a break. We need fresh air and we need to clear our minds,” says Paul Christiansen.

As you walk along, remember to stop and quietly listen to the sounds of nature. Look at the tiny flowers and birds. Just enjoy a soothing walk in the woods.

You can do a short mile-long loop or hike deeper into the woods on a five-mile trek and see some abandoned World War II era ammunition magazines.

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