Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area - St. James Boat Club

From Sorrento, take Airline Highway (US 61) east towards New Orleans/LaPlace. The St. James Boat Club is 5.4 miles past the I-10 overpass.

The vast Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area is only for the most intrepid outdoor recreationist. Reaching into five Louisiana parishes, the site is a maze of bayous, canals, pipelines, bottomland hardwood ridges, and cypress-tupelo gum swamp.

Most birding takes place aboard a kayak, canoe, or boat. Waterbird species are plentiful. Both Black-bellied Whistling-Duck and Wood Duck nest here, as well as Barred Owl, Osprey, and Bald Eagle. A dozen wading bird species are year-round residents here, including Snowy Egret, Green Heron, White and White-faced Ibises, and Roseate Spoonbill. Other waterbirds of interest include Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers, Wood Stork, Anhinga, Brown Pelican, and Belted Kingfisher.

Forest birds are also abundant but can be difficult to spot from the water. So, a nature trail just north of LaPlace is the best place for land-based birding opportunities. Nesting species include Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy, and Pileated Woodpeckers, Great-crested Flycatchers, along with Prothonotary and Northern Parula Warblers.

Be aware that rain, wind, and Lake Maurepas tides influence water levels in this area. Flooding can force the closure of the entire area. Check the status with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries before visiting. 

Visitors who want to check out this WMA should focus on the site's southern end. The boat launch at the St. James Boat Club in Gramercy is the best place to start. Kayakers and boaters can launch there and follow the Blind River west through the swamp. Paddlers may also explore small side channels and waterways and the Reserve Canal.

Parks & Nature