By Diane Billiot
Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge staff announced Monday, May 3, that the very popular 3-mile Pintail Wildlife Drive has been re-opened to the public after a 12-week closure to complete a roadway improvement project. Improvements completed include elevation of a low section of the Drive, improved drainage, and added gravel to the entire roadway.
This long awaited project, costing nearly $400,000, is the result of a collaborative effort among The Creole Nature Trail District Board of Commissioners (CNT District), the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Cameron Parish Police Jury, and the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division.
Creole Nature Trail District staff initiated and coordinated project development with USFWS Refuge staff in March of 2017, after which, they applied for and received funding through a Federal Lands Access Program grant from the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division. CNT District provided the required funding match and coordinated with all partners through the four years that it took to reach project completion, including multiple hurricane and other weather delays.
Pintail Wildlife Drive, located along the Creole Nature Trail All American Road (Highway 27) in Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge, is a 3-mile, single lane, one-way drive through moist soil wetlands manipulated by US Fish and Wildlife Service staff to provide feeding and resting habitat for wintering waterfowl. The Drive is open year-round from sunrise to sunset. Visitors are likely to see a variety of wildlife including alligators, numerous types of birds, turtles, and snakes. On occasion, many visitors have also seen otters, nutria, white-tailed deer, and bobcats along the Drive.
Cameron Prairie’s office and visitor center remain closed due to hurricane damage, so there are currently no restroom facilities available at the Refuge. Pintail Wildlife Drive boardwalk needs repairs and will remain closed for safety reasons until repairs are completed.
For additional information about Pintail Wildlife Drive, Cameron Prairie NWR, or other refuges within the Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex, call 337-774-5923 or 337-563-3491.