From Leesville, head south on US-171 (7.9 miles). Between Fort Polk and Johnsonville

With its numerous scenic areas, forest types, bogs, lakes, ponds, streams, and other unique habitat types, the Vernon Unit offers outstanding opportunities for adventurous birders and outdoor recreationists. The Unit encompasses several developed recreation complexes and over 52 miles of trails through pine and hardwood forests. 

Perhaps the best and most conveniently accessible birding introduction to this massive site is the Little Cypress Recreation Area. After turning off Hwy LA 10 onto Frontage Road 400, stop at the kiosks on the right to obtain information for the Vernon District. This site features a mixed hardwood forest and a three-acre spring-fed lake lined with cypress trees. A 0.5-mile trail circles the lake. It begins from the parking area as a paved walkway. 

The Recreation Area is less than a mile down the road. While traveling this stretch, you’ll note white bands on the trunks of certain longleaf pines, indicating active Red-cockaded Woodpecker nesting colonies. The best times to observe these endangered woodpeckers are early morning and late afternoon. There's usually day-long activity during the breeding season, which falls between March and May. 

Longleaf pine forests are also inhabited by Bachman's Sparrow–not endangered, but a very shy year-round species that are difficult to locate, except during March-April breeding season, when males ascend to the tops of understory shrub thickets to sing. Typical birdlife includes year-round species such as Wood Duck, Wild Turkey, and Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks. Neotropical breeders (spring/summer) include Great-crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, and Common Yellowthroat, Hooded, and Pine Warblers. 

The Little Cypress complex features a well-maintained playground and a covered pavilion with grills.

Drinking Fountains
Parks & Nature
Paved Trails
Viewing Platform/Observation Blind