Louisiana Breaks Ground on New State Park
Ground was broken March 6 for Bogue Chitto State Park, located near Folsom, La., 40 miles north of New Orleans.
The $24.5 million park is expected to be completed by 2010 and will cover 1,760 acres west of the Bogue Chitto River, according to The Times-Picayune, New Orleans.
In addition to the Fricke Cave on the site, the park will include cabins, recreational vehicle and tent campgrounds, rivers and lakes for canoeing, kayaking and tubing, and about 7 miles of trails to hike, bike and ride the horses that are a mainstay of the rural area.
Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu said that while the park got its impetus from the increased migration to the north shore, it will cater to people throughout the nation and abroad by showcasing the area's unique topography.
"You have to think regionally so that you can compete globally," he said. "Most people will say, 'I didn't even know they had hills in Louisiana.' "
The project already has secured $16.9 million for the lion's share of the construction, but state park officials are looking for another $7.5 million from the Legislature to complete their vision.
Washington Parish officials and businessmen said they hoped the park would provide a boom to their local economy.
The park will feature 11 lakes – filled with bass, white perch and catfish – and deer, turkeys, rabbits and turtles will roam free amid the trees that exhibit swollen trunks from the fertile, water-flush soil.
Canoeing and tubing down the river will take about an hour and then a shuttle will pick travelers up to bring both them and their water vessels back to the campgrounds.
There will be about 100 RV camping spots throughout the park, and eight cabins perched atop the bluffs, on what park officials are calling the upland.
Primitive campsites for tents will be available along the river, only accessible by canoe.
The added $7.5 million would provide for more trails and cabins, a visitor's center and for a 100-person group campsite.
Landrieu said that tourism is continuing to grow at state parks since Hurricane Katrina and that using FEMA money for restoration has freed up more state funds to begin new projects.
Landrieu also touted the nearly-completed restoration and expansion of Fontainebleau State Park near Mandeville. The 12 new cabins located on Lake Pontchartrain echo the style of fishing camps that lined the shore from the 1930s to the 1970s.
Improvements include a new visitor's center, 300-foot fishing pier and beachfront, complete with white sand.
The total project, which was delayed by Katrina, will have cost $10.47 million.