Recreation

All Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s) operated within the Sicily Island Hills Wildlife Management Area, are exclusively for use on designated, that is, marked trails only. Refer to the current WMA map for ATV trails, but keep in mind that they may be closed unexpectedly depending on the condition of the trail. The beginning of the trail will be marked with peach colored paint, and the end of the trail will be marked red. Rules and regulations for ATV use  may be subject to change, always refer to the Louisiana Hunting Regulation Pamphlet  for clarity of details and regulations concerning ATV use.

In addition, from March 1 to August 31, ALL ATV TRAILS are closed and not to be used during that time period. Don’t risk getting a citation unnecessarily, pay attention to the regulations, the time of year and the signs for ATV trails. If you use these ATV trails in the off season or go beyond the marked limits of the trail, even a few feet, you could be given a citation. The regulations for ATV use should be looked upon as a privilege, not a negative. There is a purpose to the regulations and that is habitat preservation and safety.

Bicycles do not fall under these regulations and may be used on regular gravel roads within the WMA.

  • My thanks to Lowrey Moak,  Region 4 Wildlife Biologist, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for providing information on ATV use within the Sicily Island Hills WMA.

On  private business property off of the WMA, riding dirt bikes, jeeps and trucks is possible – See ATV link at left for more information.

Biking, Birdwatching, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Hunting, and Photography are just some of the activities available in the Sicily Island Hills Wildlife Management Area.

Click on the Fishing the Area link on the left side of this page for information on fishing the Ouachita River at Sicily Island Hills and also check my post of November 16, 2009.

When engaging in activities in the Sicily Island Hills, be sure to dress and prepare appropriately. The slopes and trails of the WMA are very steep

Hiking Out on Rock Falls Trail Back to Pavilion Photo by Landon Powers

unlike most areas you have encountered anywhere else in Louisiana. Add abundant rain or in winter infrequent sleet or snow and you have the opportunity to visit an emergency department or a morgue.  If you are not physically fit you will want to become fit before venturing down steep trails.

Cell phone signals can be surprisingly quite good in these hills but do not count on being able to use your cellphone if you are in a deep valley or anywhere in this area. Let someone such as a family member or friend know you are visiting these hills and where you plan to trek. Although the Sicily Island Hills area is becoming more well known, you may visit this WMA several times without seeing another person.

  • Also be aware that this is a wildlife management area and at various times of year hunting takes place.  Even if you are visiting for birding or hiking, it is wise to wear hunters orange, or if you prefer, you may decide to visit in the off season. Check with the local office of the Louisiana Department of  Wildlife and Fisheries for information on hunting seasons at this area.
  • Additionally, there are at least two privately owned hunting areas within or surrounded by the WMA.  These areas are private property. You wouldn’t want someone venturing on to your property uninvited, so be sure of where you are by referring to your map. For location of these private hunting areas, see WMA Map link at left or the 2008 WMA map in my Photos/Maps page. Private areas completely surrounded by the WMA are in sections 20 and 27.
  • Be sure to take the ten essentials with you each time you go to this wildlife management area. The ten essentials are the ten or more items you need to survive if you are lost or stranded.

An example of this list might be:

  • Map
  • Compass and/or GPS with extra batteries
  • Tarp or other emergency shelter
  • Extra clothes
  • Extra food and water
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • A hat, cap or scarf
  • Rope
  • First Aid kit and know how to use it
  • Matches
  • A knife or better yet a multi use tool
  • Duct tape
  • Mirror or whistle
  • Radio with weather frequencies and extra batteries
  • A sturdy back pack, especially if you bring all the before mentioned!


    This blog is not a forum for debating hunting or ecotourism. This WMA is managed for the enjoyment of both hunters and non-hunters. Respect each others rights.

It is advisable to travel with another person or group, rather than visit this area alone. If you have vehicle trouble or get injured your cell phone may be your lifeline or it may not pick up a signal at all. So let someone know you are going, where you plan to explore, your vehicle type, your license plate number, and when you plan to return. WMA maps are available from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries – Sicily Island Hills WMA  web page. Print several copies for your use, mark the area you plan to visit, and write the phone number of the Catahoula Parish Sheriff’s Department on it and leave the map with family or friends. Most importantly, let the same people know about your safe return so that a search and rescue mission is not done unnecessarily. See links on the left side of this page: WMA Map and Sicily Island Hills Page.

A case in point is the nature trail leading to the 20 ft. waterfall south of Big Creek. Within a few dozen feet of entering the trail the slope drops at an extreme angle. This portion of the trail can be very slick and without proper preparation you could be injured at the very least. After exploring the waterfall you must climb this same steep trail before exiting back to the road. It is very strenuous on the way up and you need to take it slow so that you do not fall or over exert yourself.,

It would be a good idea if this trail had a series of switchbacks, but currently it is a plunge straight down the hill. Also be aware that if you visit the WMA and this waterfall in particular often enough you will most likely eventually encounter snakes in this area including but not limited to cotton mouths.

Why do I emphasize the dangers? So that your experience on this beautiful WMA is enjoyable and not injurious, regretful or tragic. Is it worth the effort? Only you can decide that. But many people are injured or killed every year in our national forests and parks. The vast majority of outdoor enthusiasts never have a moments problem. Don’t become a statistic.

One thing you need to be aware of when visiting the Sicily Island Hills Wildlife Management Area (or any state WMA)
is that you must be in possession of a current and valid fishing license, hunting license, or Wild Louisiana Stamp. If you are under 16 years old or over 60 years old
you may not need to have either these licenses or stamps to visit a wildlife management area.

This requirement applies if you are BIRDING, HIKING, OR ANY OTHER ACTIVITY on the wildlife management area. This is not just for fishermen or hunters. SO BE AWARE.

This information is current as of 3/2/2009. Before you go to this or any WMA check with the nearest office of the Department of  Wildlife and  Fisheries for the most current regulations.

So why do “I” have to pay a fee to access this wildlife management area? Because the fees you pay go to maintain the beauty and habitat of this place. Roads need to be graded or repaired and the list of necessary expenditures goes on and on. Instead of complaining about fees, be thankful you have such a beautiful place to visit. You will get far more than the price of admission with a lifetime of memories. Take a friend or take  your family, I assure you  that you will not regret it. In summertime especially, Louisiana weather is brutally hot and muggy. This place, particularly at the waterfalls, is a wonderfully shady and cooler oasis.

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