In a report released today the state confirmed what we all knew, but prayed was not coming. 25,000 acre Jackson-Bienville WMA will close for good effective July 1, 2016. The press release is as follows:
“LDWF appreciates the longstanding partnership with Weyerhaeuser Company in providing access to this property,” said Charlie Melancon, LDWF Secretary. “Jackson-Bienville WMA has been a popular destination for recreational hunting enthusiasts in Louisiana since 1961.”
Weyerhaeuser made the property available for public leasing in April 2016. Unfortunately, LDWF and Weyerhaeuser could not come to terms in an agreement to continue leasing the property.
LDWF’s WMA system includes nearly 860,000 acres of department owned property in addition to over 450,000 acres of free-lease WMAs. LDWF relies on many large landowners throughout the state to partner with the agency to provide outdoor recreation opportunities through free leases.
LDWF would like to recognize and thank its other partners in conservation that provide land for public use. Without the generosity and assistance of Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Biloxi Marsh Land Corporation, Louisiana National Guard, Hancock Timber, LaSalle Parish School Board, U.S. Army, U.S. Forest Service, Tangipahoa Parish School Board, Louisiana State Lands Office, Ouachita Parish School Board, Red Oak Timber Company, Calcasieu Parish School Board, New Orleans City Park Improvement Association, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Caddo Levee District, Red River Waterway Commission, Thistlethwaite Heirs, Roy O. Martin, and Forest Investment, LDWF would not be able to provide the properties owned by these partners as WMA lands for outdoor recreational opportunity.
LDWF’s Land Acquisition program continues to add property to the WMA system on an annual basis. The WMA Master Plan identified the need for this activity to continue as a means for the LDWF to address continuing threats to wildlife and fisheries resources across the state, as well as to conserve important landscapes associated with the flora and fauna of our tremendously diverse state. Acquisition of tracts also ensures long term availability of the resources for the benefit of society and the multitude of users of these lands, especially the sportsmen of Louisiana.