SWLA national wildlife refuges reopen

CAMERON PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Southwest Louisiana's national wildlife refuges have reopened in light of the end of the government shutdown.

Officials said all facilities, recreation areas and activities that are normally open at this time of year are now re-opened.

On the open list are:

White-tailed deer archery hunting on Cameron Prairie and Lacassine National Wildlife Refuges are open;

The Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex Visitor Center and offices located at Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge are open;

Sabine and Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge offices are open;

Pintail Wildlife Drive and Bank Fishing Road at Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge are open;

The East Cove Unit of Cameron Prairie NWR is open except during the Louisiana Coastal zone waterfowl hunting season or when the Grand Bayou boat bay is closed;

Streeters Road fishing pier at Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge is open;

Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge wildlife drive at Lacassine Pool is open; and

Northline, Hog Island Gully, Blue Goose Trail, Blue Crab, West Cove and the Wetland Walkway Recreational Areas of Sabine National Wildlife Refuge are open.

In addition, officials announced:

Officials also announced that the annual winter closure to fishing and boating that would have began on Oct. 15 has begun on Oct. 17 at Cameron Prairie's Gibbstown Unit, Lacassine Pool and designated refuge waters, and Sabine's interior marshes and waterways.

Closed areas will remain closed throughout the wintering waterfowl season to protect and maintain waterfowl concentrations.

Areas will re-open to fishing and boating activities in these areas on March 15, 2014, officials said.

Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuges Gibbstown Unit, located along La. 27, closed to all fishing activities except for bank fishing road, which will remain open year round. Cameron Prairie's East Cove Unit is open year-round except during the Louisiana coastal waterfowl hunting season or when Grand Bayou boat bay is closed.

Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge is closed to all fishing and boating activities. The only exception is Streeter Road Fishing Pier which remains open to Bank fishing year round. The Pool area, including the Wildlife Drive, the Headquarters area, and Streeter's Road area remain open year round for wildlife observation and photography.

Sabine National Wildlife Refuge interior marshes and waterways are closed to all fishing. West Cove canal will remain open for boat access to Calcasieu Lake via the salt water boat launch at West Cove Recreational Area; however, it is closed to all other activities. Only designated Sabine NWR roadside recreation areas along La. 27 will remain open year round for fishing and crabbing. All refuge regulations remain in effect.

Recreational paddling via non-motorized watercraft including pirogues, kayaks and canoes is permitted throughout the year in three designated areas on Sabine National Wildlife Refuge.  Areas include Impoundments 1A and 1B accessible from Blue Crab recreation area and West Cove Unit marshes accessible from Hog Island Gully recreation area's eastern boat launch. West Cove Unit is a tidally influenced brackish marsh traversed by canals, bayous, lakes, and ponds. The paddling area includes everything accessible to the north and south of Hog Island Gully Canal. Please remember, although these areas are open to paddling they are closed to fishing, crabbing and cast netting from Oct. 16 through March 14.

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved.