Current Field Trip Offerings
|July||Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge|
Saturday, July 11
Road Trip! Road Trip! Road Trip!
Let us do a road trip Saturday, July 11th, to the Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and Lake Road, located near Lacombe, La. The Refuge is known for its walking trails, boardwalks, kayaking/canoeing and birding. Lake Road (exit Hwy. 434 off Interstate 12), borders Bayou Lacombe all the way to the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. There are numerous unique and interesting scenic views along Lake Road including wildlife and landscapes (the New Orleans skyline is often visible in the distance across the Lake). Often, local fishermen, crabbers and their families are trying their luck on the side of the roadway. There is also a dock for fishing and viewing and boat launch with parking.
Because of the heat during the day, we can make this an early evening trip and if our timing is right, we may be able to catch some great sunset and wide-angle landscape images. The sun sets about 8 p.m. in July in Lacombe. While the visitor center in the Refuge will probably still be closed, many of the trails and Lake Road are open. In addition, I think we can do this road trip safely with adequate social distancing. Many images along Lake Road can be taken from inside the vehicle or with an occasional pullover and setup on the side of the road.
Subject to change, LPS field trippers will meet in the parking lot of the St. Tammany Parish Library Lacombe Branch, 28027 E. U.S. Hwy 190, Lacombe, La. 70445 about 6 p.m. The library is only about three blocks from the intersection of Hwy. 190 and Lake Road (Hwy. 434). From there we will travel in our cars down Lake Road toward Lake Pontchartrain stopping for setups and photos along the roadway. Lake Road is about 4.5 miles from the intersection of Hwy. 190 and the end of the road on the shore of the Lake.
Getting There Field trippers can take Interstate 12 east, take Exit 74 (Hwy. 434) and head south (about an hour and 10 minutes from BR). For meet up at the library, turn right at Hwy. 190 in Lacombe and the library should be on your right after a few blocks. For those wanting to leave earlier for a more extended field trip, I suggest getting an earlier start and getting off Interstate 12 east at the Robert exit 47 (Hwy 445) south, or Madisonville, exit 59, (Hwy. 1077) to catch Hwy. 22 east. Ed Richards, our LPS president, has offered to lead a caravan for the trip from Baton Rouge if needed.
La. Hwy. 22 has been designated a scenic byway and Madisonville is an old port town along the Tchefuncte River on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. It has an interesting park along the riverside with an old bridge crossing the river and a marina with many sailboats and large craft. It also has a naval museum where wooden boats are still built today.
Across the bridge, to the left, is Fairview State Park which is open to day visitors and overnight campers. The park offers panoramic views with a large bend in the river.
Heading east toward Lacombe, Hwy 22 becomes Hwy. 190 and near Mandeville is Fountainbleau State Park. Fountainbleau Park has a long concrete boardwalk and pavilion stretching into Lake Pontchartrain, a beach along the shore and many large live oaks draped in moss.
As mentioned previously, the Big Branch Refuge offers many trails for birding and other wildlife viewing. Lake Road, near Lake Pontchartrain, is part of the Big Branch Marsh Refuge.
Camera Gear Because of the time of day, tripods and speed lights may be useful as well as wide-angle lenses for landscapes. “Zooms” could be used for birding and perhaps a “prime” or two for portraits and “street shots” (in this case, road shots). Don’t forget extra batteries and cards.
Other Considerations Keeping socially distanced is an important concern. LPS field trippers should have masks available for when they are in close proximity to others and stay sufficiently distanced (6 feet) from each other. (I usually have a bandana around my neck ready to pull up when needed) Taking images from your vehicle or close by should help maintain that distance. Because of the ongoing shutdown, and the visitor centers being closed, we can not be sure of the availability of restroom facilities in the area. Further details about the trip will be provided to those registering.
We will also have a new LPS Field Trip Gallery for July 2020 Field Trip. Once it is up and running, we ask that you post your favorite images from the trip so we all can enjoy. So, please register for this field trip so we can get a good head count. Hope to see you there.