The sunrise is glorious over Black Bayou Lake Refuge.

This sign is located at the refuge entrance.

On Monday, October 17, 2005 we moved into a new home at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge. This is one refuge within the North Louisiana Refuges Complex and is managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, as are all of our national wildlife refuges. This refuge is about 4,200 acres and of that approximately 2,000 acres is covered by Black Bayou Lake. This refuge has the major public areas of the refuge complex.

The visitor center is in a restored plantation house. The new education center just opened on Oct. 15.

We did most of our work in the visitor center and the education center while we were here. We were the only "live on" volunteers here, but there is a very active "Friends of Black Bayou" group that helps to staff the visitor center as well as raising money for and working in facilities here. The refuge is only eight years old but thanks to the "Friends," the facilities are some of the very best that we have seen.

Kelby Ouchley, the Refuge Manager at Black Bayou Lake NWR.  This is Gay Brantley, the volunteer coordinator.

The refuge is ably managed by Kelby Ouchley and the volunteer coordinator is Gay Brantley. They are both great to work with and Kelby is one of the most knowledgeable naturalists that we have had the pleasure to work with. This was a memorable experience!

Our RV site is very large and nice. All of our nearest neighbors are birds & animals. This Great White Egret is a resident.

We had a full hook-up site with 50A/30A power and a nice lawn. Our site backed on the bayou and looked out on to the refuge. We were isolated from the civilized world, yet were only a few miles out of Monroe and very close to stores and amenities of the city. We were only required 24 hours total, per week of work for our site, but we spent more time than that since we strongly believe in the national wildlife system. In the spring of 2006 the refuge will be adding a second RV site so there will be two positions available for use by resident volunteers.

There are many butterflies at Black Bayou. Muffie is on watch in the early morning fog! Black Bayou Lake is an excellent reflecting pool!

While this is a small refuge with only a little more than 4,000 acres, it has a lot to see and do. There are many developed areas for use by the public.

In late fall the leaves of the forests seem to be almost on fire! The lake is always beautiful, but especially in winter with the leaf colors. There is a photo blind at the end of a bordwalk that overlooks an area that has much wildlife activity.

With the refuge so close to town and the relatively short work hours, this would be an excellent choice for couples who are new to the "live on" volunteer lifestyle and who want to give it a try. I suggest that you contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Pam & I holding the orphan baby aligators in the Ed. Ctr. This observation tower is one of the features of the refuge. A grand sunset tells visitors goodbye, and come back soon!