Archive for March, 2009

If you have done much travelling in Louisiana, you have enjoyed the beautiful bayous, birdlife, cypress trees,coast, floodplains, hills, lakes, marshes, pine forests, rivers and wildflowers. Visiting the Sicily Island Hills area of Catahoula parish will surprise you.

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Photo by RomanRyder

For here you will find canyons, cliffs,  far off vistas from hilltops, steep terrain and waterfalls more reminiscent of the Ozarks. Comparing these features to other places one may be less impressed.

I have had the pleasure of visiting waterfalls around the United States and in Switzerland. Near Interlaken in central Switzerland there is the waterfall renowned Lauterbrunnen valley with the Staubbach Falls which makes an over 900 foot drop from a hanging valley. The audible and visual power of the waterfalls of the Lewis River country of Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington state are a knockout. Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon keeps calling me back to take just one more photograph. Some of my favorite waterfalls in the Carolinas are Bridal Veil, Cullasaja, and Whitewater.

As with life in general can you ever find the perfect waterfall or not long for a waterfall that is taller or more powerful than the one you saw previously? Isn’t part of the enjoyment of waterfalls the sense of adventure in finding your way there? And once you have discovered it isn’t is just a pleasure to stop and take it all in?

So it is for me with the Sicily Island Hills area and the waterfalls there. These hills provide a sense of discovery and feeling of finding something quite out of the ordinary.  The surrounding floodplain and terrace elevations measure in a few dozen feet, but the terrain in these hills climb in places to over 250  feet. Now to someone in Colorado with multiple peaks in excess of 14,ooo feet , a place with hills of 250 feet may not seem so amazing. However, the Sicily Island Hills are unique in their own special way because they are so unexpected. Imagine a landscape as wide as the Missisippi River floodplain, with vast corn or cotton fields, generally flat as far as the eye can see and suddenly as you drive within view, a dome of forested hills appear.
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Photo courtesy of RomanRyder

Having lived in Louisiana for 45 years and having travelled in all parts of the state, I can say that the fauna, flora and topography of these hills set them apart from any other region in the state. This is a special area that deserves preservation so that future generations can enjoy its many treasures. The vast majority of the Sicily Island Hills are indeed owned and protected by the state of Louisiana by way of the Wildlife Management Area.

Make sure you have a valid license or stamp issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries when you visit the Sicily Island Hills Wildlife Management Area ! This applies for any activity on the WMA, and is not just for fishermen or hunters!

Obviously you do not need a state issued fishing license, hunting license or Wild Louisiana Stamp if you are visiting private property or businesses off of the Wildlife Management Area. But be aware of private property rights as well as current regulations with regards to the WMA.