Abbeville, LA -(Ammoland.com)- A recreational trail rehabilitation project at Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area in Ouachita Parish was one of 14 projects from across the United States that received a national award for outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program Funds (RTP) in 2014.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) Wildlife Division utilized RTP funding of $38,286 plus an additional $12,250 from the agency’s Conservation Fund to improve the Sawyer Trail within the 22,000-acre WMA just to the east of the Monroe/West Monroe area. Wildlife Division staff involved in the project were recognized during the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Sept. 4 meeting.
Russell Sage WMA is a popular destination for approximately 30,000 users annually due to its diverse wildlife populations and habitats. Users range from hunters and fishermen to sightseers, hikers and birdwatchers.
The Sawyer Trail is an important recreational feature that provides over two miles of ATV and UTV access on the northern portion of the WMA. The trail passes through a bottomland hardwood forest which is representative of the forests which once covered much of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Prior to department ownership of this property, this trail was an oilfield road that provided access to oil well locations within the property.
The department purchased the area in 1960 and the trail, through normal use, degraded over time. It was selected for renovation to improve access for WMA users. The project funding was awarded in 2011 and completed in 2013.
Improvements to the Trail Included:
- Widening of the existing trail right-of-way to 50 feet, along the entire two mile length, to facilitate drying and maintenance activities.
- Elevation of the trail to a minimum of three feet above grade, with ditches excavated on both sides to improve the quality of the trail to users and to make maintenance of trail more efficient and feasible.
- Installation of nine culverts along the trail’s length to facilitate drainage and natural hydrologic flow through the adjacent bottomland hardwood systems.
- Improvement of trailhead parking by adding 120 tons of limestone.
- Users now have improved access along and to the entirety of the trail and can now more easily and safely access the northern portion of the WMA.
LDWF manages over 1.1 million acres in its Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Program. These areas are distributed across the state and are comprised of a vast array of habitat types. The WMA Program’s mission is to deliver conservation priorities to Louisiana’s landscape, conserving the state’s diverse wildlife resources, as well as provide an array of outdoor recreational opportunities to the public.
About The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF)
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. The LDWF’s mission is to manage, conserve, and promote wise utilization of Louisiana’s renewable fish and wildlife resources and their supporting habitats through replenishment, protection, enhancement, research, development, and education for the social and economic benefit of current and future generations; to provide opportunities for knowledge of and use and enjoyment of these resources; and to promote a safe and healthy environment for the users of the resources.