Map of state parks maintained by the Office of State Parks
(Each dot is linked to the corresponding park article)
The state of Louisiana has 22 state parks, which are governed by the Office of State Parks, a division of the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. Louisiana's state park system began in 1934 when the state passed legislation that created the State Parks Commission of Louisiana. In 1952, legislation broadened the role of the commission to include the development of outdoor recreation programs and resources. The commission was renamed to the Louisiana State Parks and Recreation Commission. In 1977, the Office of State Parks was created in the Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism.
After the State Parks Commission of Louisiana was formed in 1934, 7 sites were acquired for use as state parks. During World War II, the rate of new park acquisition declined with the addition of only one new site, Sam Houston Jones State Park in 1944. In 1966, the National Park Service reviewed Louisiana's state parks system and made many recommendations, which led to specific guidelines and requirements for state parks. Over time, many state parks that did not meet these guidelines were either reclassified as state historic sites or were turned over to local or state agencies. Some of these parks include Lac des Allemands, Saline Bayou, and Black Lake. During the 1970s, government management of the state parks was restructured. The Office of State Parks was created, and 2 new parks were acquired. From 1995 to 2009, $80 million were invested in creating new facilities, or updating existing facilities.
Louisiana state parks are selected on the criteria that they must be natural areas of unique or exceptional scenic value. Many of the state parks also have historic or scientific importance. For example, Chemin-A-Haut State Park served as a route used by Native Americans during seasonal migrations. Louisiana state parks have many accommodations, including overnight cabins, boating rentals, guided daily tours, and fishing piers. In 2002, Louisiana state parks had more than 2 million visitors. With the addition of Palmetto Island State Park in 2010, Louisiana state parks comprise more than 30,000 acres(12,000 ha) of land.
Lake Bistineau State Park is the first state park in Louisiana to accommodate African Americans, starting in 1956. The two separated areas are an artifact of the segregated nature of the park at the time.
Lake Claiborne State Park is situated on, but does not include, Lake Clairborne, the park's main attraction. When at full reservoir level, Lake Claiborne has a surface area of 6,400 acres(2,590 ha).
The land was originally owned by Bernard de Marigny who called the area Fontainebleau after a forest in Paris he admired. When designated a state park, Governor Richard Leche named it Tchefuncte State Park and Conservation Reservation, which was later reverted to Fontainebleu.
^ abLouisiana Conservationist. 40–42. Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries Commission, Louisiana. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries. 1988. "Bayou Segnette State Park in Jefferson Parish and Lake Fausse Pointe State Park in Iberia Parish since the grand opening in 1987 have been very popular."
^"Make a Weekend Stop to Grand Isle State Park". Houma, Louisiana: Gumbo Entertainment Guide. July 6, 2011. Retrieved April 11, 2012. "Nestled in the northeastern portion of the only inhabited barrier island in the state, Louisiana purchased the 150-acre park in 1968."
^"Facebook–Grand Isle State Park". Office of State Parks, Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism. Retrieved April 11, 2012. "The park was purchased in 1968 by the State."
^Louisiana State Parks Crossroads Brochure. Louisiana State Parks. 2007.
^Louisiana statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation plan: Information base for executive decision, 1993-19981. Division of Outdoor Recreation. 1994. "North Toledo Bend State Park has been developed and has been operational since 1987."