Heart of Louisiana: Tickfaw State Park
LIVINGSTON PARISH, La. (WVUE) - It’s a state park that allows you to totally immerse yourself in nature.
A series of hiking trails and boardwalks at Tickfaw State Park takes you through the forest and swamp.
The Tickfaw River is the centerpiece of this 1200-acre state park.
It has long boardwalks that winds through the forested swamp and let you keep your feet dry. The boardwalk ends at a suspension bridge above the river.
“There’s a lot of just what you expect Louisiana bayous with, you know, overhang, trees and foliage,” says Jessica Broom. “We saw about five gators while we were out there.”
Broom and her family just returned from a day of kayaking.
“This is our first time. We wanted to come and check it out to see how the waters were and for fishing and stuff like that. We would definitely, we’ll be back. It’s just very nice, peaceful, quiet,” says Bloom.
Reporter: A few catfish?
“Yes sir,” says Emerson McCall. “That makes a good breakfast. Grits and catfish.”
McCall spent his entire day casting for catfish along the river bottom.
“I started early this morning. Caught about four. You know, it’s like my third trip here, but it’s a nice little place. I just hadn’t found the right spot yet,” says McCall.
But if you don’t have the patience, the skill or luck to catch your own, the park’s nature center has an 800-gallon aquarium where you can see the native fish.
“That I try to keep stocked with fish that I’ll catch in the park. That’s one of the things I get to do. It’s fun. I get to go fishing for my work, you know, so I go out and catch and try to keep a wide variety in the aquarium,” says Brad Lavigne.
The nature center also has examples of other wildlife that live here.
Tickfaw features four different ecosystems. The River Pine Forest, Bottom Land Hardwood Forest and a Cypress Tupelo, swamp.
“We got a good example of a tupelo and a bald cypress right here,” says Lavigne. “They both have the wide bottom, but the thing that makes them different is the bald cypress looks like it’s pleated.”
This Tickfaw site first opened with the boardwalks as an eco-park back in 1999 and since then they’ve added campsites and cabins.
The park is located near Springfield. It has 30 RV sites, a primitive campground and 14 cabins.
Buddy Leblanc of Port Allen is spending the weekend here with his growing family.
“We’ve been doing it for a long time,” says Leblanc. “The kids look forward to it and now our kids have kids, so they’re bringing their kids. So it’s a long tradition of inviting your kids and being with family.”
And near the campground there’s a fishing ground that’s frequented by alligators.
“They liked to stay there. Normally we have two or three in there year-round,” says Lavigne.
There’s something about going into the woods, spending time with the family, trying to catch a fish and getting close to nature that can help you relax and unwind.
Tickfaw State Park is located near Springfield in Livingston Parish.
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