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Welcome to the Ouachita/Black River Area

The Ouachita River originates in Polk County, Arkansas, and flows 510 miles in a southerly direction to Jonesville, Louisiana, where it converges with the Tensas and Little Rivers to form the Black River.  Black River meets the Red River (J. Bennett Johnston Waterway) 41 miles south of Jonesville,  about 28½ miles below the mouth of the Black River, the Red River comes to a junction with the Atchafalaya River and the western end of the seven mile long Old River, which historically lined these rivers to the Mississippi River.  The Ouachita-Black Rivers Navigation Project was begun in 1902 and is a 337-mile long waterway.  The navigable area begins in Camden, AR to Jonesville, LA where it converges with the Tensas and Little Rivers to form the Black River.

In 1924 construction was completed on the system of six locks and dams.  In later years outdated locks were replaced and presently there are four locks and dams on the waterway, each with lock chambers 84 feet wide and 600 feet in length having from 3 to 5 tainter gates.  The locks and dams have a lift from 12 feet up to 30 feet, which provides a minimum 9-foot deep and 100-foot wide navigation channel to accommodate barge traffic from the Red River north to Camden, AR.

The Louisiana Field Office, locate in Monroe, LA, manages natural resources, recreation and flood control on the Ouachita-Black Rivers Navigation Project.  Currently the Louisiana Field Office manages 21 recreation areas along the Ouachita-Black Rivers and it’s tributaries, including the Boeuf River, Tensas River, Little River and the control structure at Catahoula Dam.

Ouachita Black River
3505 South Grand Street
Monroe, LA 71202

 

Ouachita/Black River Recreation Areas


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Ouachita/Black River Area Info

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The Louisiana Field Office is dedicated to the protection of our environment and natural resources on the Ouachita-Black Rivers Navigation Project, J. Bennett Johnston Waterway, Bayou Bodcau Dam and Reservoir, Wallace Lake Dam and Caddo Lake Dam. The Corps of Engineers strives to maintain a balance between the environment and development of and along our waterways. Environmentally sensitive areas are allocated to preserve scientific, ecological, cultural, and aesthetic features. No development is allowed on these lands, and public use may be subject to specified restrictions to protect environmentally sensitive areas.

Felsenthal - Each Fall River elevations are raised 5 feet at Felsenthal Lock creating the world's largest green-tree reservoir. The 15,000 acres of backwater lakes and sloughs within the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge is more than doubled to 36,000 acres creating an excellent site for both wintering waterfowl and waterfowl hunters.

Lock 8 - The Old Lock 8 recreation area is located on the site of what was Lock and Dam 8.  Lock and Dam 8 was completed in 1916 and this site is currently listed on the Register of Historic Places.  In 1984 H.K. Thatcher Lock and Dam located nearby replaced Lock 8 after nearly 70 years of service.

Thatcher - Completed and put in operation 1n 1984;  H.K. Thatcher is the northern most Lock & Dam on the Ouachita River creating a navigable pool all the way to Camden Arkansas, a distance of 52 river miles.

Crossett Harbor - In addition to the facilities at the park, Crossett Harbor is located in the center of the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge which makes it ideally located nearby to some of the best hunting and fishing areas found within the entire river basin.

Grand Marais - Grand Marais Recreation area is home to the annual Bream Festival and fishing tournament which takes place each year on the Friday and Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.  The waters here are well known throughout the region for its excellent Bream fishing.

Finch Bayou is known by the locals as Alabama Landing.

Sterlington Recreation Area was once a site of a Lock and Dam.

Moon Lake Recreation Area was closed in Sept. 2006 for complete modernization.  The area reopened in Oct. 2007.

Bawcomville Recreation Area has an annual Earth Day Celebration event.

Prairion Recreation Area allows primitive camping and drinkable water is available in the area.

Riverton has the only swimming beach on the Ouachita River in Louisiana.

Columbia Lock and Dam East host 2 annual hunts for the mobility impaired.  Participants are chosen by drawings and the events are in November and December.

Fort Necessity allows primitive camping, but there is no drinkable water provided.

Columbia Landing is located in the town of Columbia which is the home of the annual Riverboat Festival held annually in May.

Columbia Lock and Dam East is a favorite fishing spot for locals.  There is also a self guided nature trail available.

Jonesville Lock and Dam – Completed in 1972 and put into operation soon thereafter this lock and dam is the southern most control structure on the Ouachita/Black Rivers.

Clayton Landing – Located on the Tensas River this recreation area provides access to some of the area’s most active summertime bass fishing.

Harrisonburg Landing – Once the home of a lock and dam constructed in the early 1900’s visitors can still see the concrete steps leading down to the river from the site of former housing that was home to the personnel that operated the lock and dam.

Jonesville Landing – This recreation area is located within a short boat ride from the convergence of four (4) navigable rivers; which are the Ouachita, Black, Tensas and Little Rivers.  Also, there are still remnants close by of earthen mounds built by Native American tribes hundreds of years ago.

Little River Closure – If you want to see a river flowing two different directions during the year, come visit Little River Closure.  During high-water events in the spring the Little River flows into Catahoula Lake. Then in just a few short weeks the river flows back on its normal course into the Black River.

Catahoula Lake – The control structure at Catahoula Lake provided consistent lake levels as part of the migratory bird sanctuary located at the near by National Wildlife Refuge.  This truly is a sportsman’s paradise when it comes to fishing and hunting.

The Louisiana Field Office provides flood control management along the Ouachita-Black Rivers. The Tensas Basin Levee District has the primary responsibility for management of flood control along the levee systems of the Ouachita-Black Rivers Navigation Project from Bastrop, Louisiana to Columbia, Louisiana.

The Louisiana Field Office conducts annual inspections of the levee systems and assists the Tensas Basin Levee District to patrol the levees during high water.

The Ouachita River was named for the river dwelling Indian tribe, Washita Indians.  The word “Washita” means “good hunting grounds” and sparkling silver water.”  Other Indian tribes which dwelled on the river include the Caddo, Tensas, Osage Nation, Choctaw and Chickasaw.  There is evidence along the river that at one time a mound building civilization existed.  Jonesville, LA, hosted the largest of the mounds, but the mound was destroyed from bridge construction in the 20th century. Explorer Hernando de Soto reported the use of this mound in 1540.  Lightening destroyed the tribes temple, which the tribe thought to be a bad omen and the tribe left the area around 1730.

The river route served southwest AR and northern LA for European colonist and has remained an important transportation and trade route.  (Paragraph reference retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouachita_River”). The French were the first to settle on the banks of the Ouachita River.  Many of the bayous and lakes have been named after the French such as Bayou Prairion and Bayou Bartholomew.  In 1803 the United States purchased the mostly uncharted Ouachita River as part of the deal made with the Louisiana Purchase.  The President, Thomas Jefferson, requested two expeditions to begin.  The first was the Missouri River Expedition, which became known as the Lewis and Clark expedition.  The second was the Hunter-Dunbar expedition which was to chart the entire length of the Ouachita River.  Both expeditions began in May 1804.  Hunter and Dunbar charted the entire Ouachita River from Jonesville, Louisiana, to Hot Springs, Arkansas. During the Civil War soldiers were transported on the Ouachita to stop Union forces.  Harrisonburg, Louisiana is the site of a cannonball battle which completely stopped the Unions advances on the Confederate army.

Between the years of 1819-1910 steamboats ruled the Ouachita River.  The river commerce was a great force with activity from November to July.  It was noted that during high water the steamboats traveled from Monroe, Louisiana to Arkadelphia, Arkansas. When the steamboats approached towns the captain would blast the horn and the townspeople would stop all activity to run and greet the great ships. The Ouachita River originates in Polk County, Arkansas, and flows 510 miles in a southerly direction to Jonesville, Louisiana, where it converges with the Tensas and Little Rivers to form the Black River.  Black River meets the Red River (J. Bennett Johnston Waterway) 41 miles south of Jonesville,  about 28½ miles below the mouth of the Black River, the Red River comes to a junction with the Atchafalaya River and the western end of the seven mile long Old River, which historically lined these rivers to the Mississippi River.  The Ouachita-Black Rivers Navigation Project was began in 1902 and is a 337-mile long waterway.  The navigable area begins in Camden, AR to Jonesville, LA where it converges with the Tensas and Little Rivers to form the Black River.

In 1924 construction was completed on the system of six locks and dams.  In later years outdated locks were replaced and presently there are four locks and dams on the waterway, each with lock chambers 84 feet wide and 600 feet in length having from 3 to 5 tainter gates.  The locks and dams have a lift from 12 feet up to 30 feet, which provides a minimum 9-foot deep and 100-foot wide navigation channel to accommodate barge traffic from the Red River north to Camden, AR. The Louisiana Field Office, locate in Monroe, LA, manages natural resources, recreation and flood control on the Ouachita-Black Rivers Navigation Project.  Currently the Louisiana Field Office manages 23 recreation areas along the Ouachita-Black Rivers and it’s tributaries, including the Boeuf River, Tensas River, Little River and the control structure at Catahoula Dam

The Louisiana Field Office is committed to managing a diversity of habitats with a variety of tools. Sound environmental stewardship efforts to help preserve our natural resources for game and non-game alike. From waterfowl to bluebirds, interior least terns, or whitetail deer Ouachita-Black Rivers Navigation Project, J. Bennett Johnston Waterway, Bayou Bodcau Dam & Reservoir, Wallace Lake Dam, Caddo Lake Dam, and surrounding area provides critical habitat for wildlife.

Supplemental food plots

Food plots are planted to offset the destruction of habitat and provide additional sources of food and cover for many species of wildlife.

Control Burns

Prescribed burns are used to control undesirable vegetation and is the most natural tool that can be used for managing habitats. Forest fire has occurred naturally in most ecosystems for thousands of years and some vegetative areas must have control burns in order for them to survive.

Wildlife Management

The Louisiana Field Office maintains wildlife management areas to provide an improved nesting and feeding habitat for migrating waterfowl and many other native species. No less than five waterfowl resting areas located on three lock & dam sites provide food and cover for a variety of species of birds, mammals, and fish. Four recreation areas have been recently included in the America’s Wetland Mississippi River Birding Trail System.

Wildlife Surveys

Wildlife surveys are conducted throughout the year by Louisiana Field Office biologists, foresters, and park rangers to survey the population of concerned and endangered species for wildlife management purposes. Surveys conducted included the bald eagle, interior least tern, and the whitetail deer. Nest surveys collect data from 350 wood duck boxes and 130 eastern bluebird boxes that are maintained along the Ouachita-Black Rivers Navigation Project, J. Bennett Johnston Waterway, Bayou Bodcau Dam and Reservoir, Wallace Lake Dam, and Caddo Lake Dam.

Mobility Impaired Deer Hunts

The Louisiana Field Office sponsors two mobility impaired deer hunts in cooperation with the sportsman’s organization “Outdoors Without Limits”. Individuals are picked by a random drawing for the weekend event. Not only does this hunt provide a great outdoor experience for the hunters and staff, it is an excellent management tool in controlling whitetail deer populations on the Columbia Lock & Dam wildlife management area.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Recreation Areas

H.K. Thatcher Lock and Dam
H.K. Thatcher Lock and Dam has one day use area with one boat launch ramp with two lanes, a parking area with 40 parking spaces, and a water-borne comfort station. From El Dorado, AR take hwy 63 north.  Go 6.4 miles and turn left on Armer Road at the intersections of hwy 63 & 129. Go 0.1 miles and turn right on Crain City Road. Travel 4.9 miles and turn right on New Lock 8 Road. Go 1.4 miles and turn right near the Lock office then travel 0.9 miles to the recreation area.

Felsenthal Lock and Dam
Felsenthal Lock and Dam offers two day use facilities with a picnic shelter, a water-borne comfort station. playground, and fishing pier.  Each recreation area also has a 5 lane boat launching ramp with ample parking.  From Huttig, AR take Olin Avenue 4 miles to the city of Felsenthal.  Turn left onto New Lock 6 road and go 1 mile to lower area or 1.6 miles to the upper area.

Finch Bayou Recreation Area
The Finch Bayou Recreation Area is located within the Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge on the Ouachita River near Haile, LA. The Finch Bayou Recreation Area consists of 8 picnic sites, 1 boat launch facility with 26 parking spaces, and a vault comfort station.  Primitive camping is permitted in designated areas only.

Sterlington Recreation Area 
Sterlington Recreation Area offers a boat launch ramp, a 33 vehicle parking area, playground equipment, a disc golf course, swing set, 6 picnic sites, a pavilion with a large group grill, 2 small grills, 2 picnic table, drinkable water faucet, and a water-borne restroom.  The Sterlington Recreation area is located in Sterlington, LA.

Moon Lake Recreation Area
The Moon Lake Recreation Area was completely remodeled and reopened in the fall of 2007.  The park is a local favorite for wake-boarders, jet-skiers, fishing, and water enthusiast.  Facilities at the Moon Lake Recreation Area include a water-borne comfort station, a 4-lane boat launch ramp, temporary boat slips for easy loading and unloading, picnic tables, and more than 100 parking spaces.  A privately owned marina is located near the recreation area.  Moon Lake Recreation Area is located off U.S. 165 and La. Hwy. 553 north of Monroe, LA.

Bawcomville Recreation Area
Bawcomville Recreation Area is a local favorite to visit friends, picnic, take lunch breaks, and view the beautiful Ouachita River.  The site offers visitors a boat launch ramp, 52 parking spaces, 10 picnic sites, and a vault comfort station.  Bawcomville Recreation Area is located off La. Hwy. 34 near the community of Bawcomville outside West Monroe, LA.

Prairion Bayou Recreation Area
Prairion Bayou Recreation Area is a remote getaway for peaceful serenity.  Primative camping is allowed in designated areas and drinkable water is available.  The site offers a boat ramp, 8 picnic sites, a vault comfort station, and a parking area with 20 parking spaces.  Take LA. Hwy 34 to LA. Hwy. 557, then follow the signs to this secluded recreation area. 

Riverton Recreation Area                                                                                                                                               Riverton Recreation Area is well know as having the only developed swim beach along the Ouachita-Black Rivers Navigation Project.  The site has a boat launch ramp, 9 picnic areas, 3 picnic shelters a group pavilion, playground equipment, a swing set, a waterborne comfort station, and 30 parking spaces.  The Riverton Recreation Area is located off U.S. 165 near the community of Riverton, LA.

Columbia Lock and Dam (East Side) Recreation Area
Columbia Lock and Dam Recreation area facilities include a picnic shelter, volleyball court, water-borne comfort station, and a boat launch ramp with parking for 30 vehicles.  The picnic shelter may be reserved by contacting the Louisiana Field Office.  This recreation facility is located approximatley 5 miles north of Columbia, LA off US 165.

Columbia Lock and Dam (West Side) Recreation Area
Fishing and nature trail walking are popular activities at this recreation area located on the west side of Columbia Lock and Dam off La. Hwy 846.  The one mile nature trail meanders through a unique and diverse ecosystem including mixed pine, upland hardwoods and lower lying cypress breaks with two waterfowl reservoirs.  The trail is home for the state champion Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminate). This recreation areas also offers a water-borne comfort station with a large parking area for approximatly 20 vehicles.

Columbia Landing Recreation Area
Columbia Landing Recreation Area is a popular location for boating on the Quachita River.  Facilities include a water-borne comfort station, 20 picnic sites, playground equipment, and a 5-lane boat launch ramp with parking to accommodate approximately 50 vehicles. This recreation area is located within the city limits of Columbia, LA along Hwy 165.

Ft. Necessity Recreation Area
Ft. Necessity Recreation Area located along the Boeuf RIver offers a boat launch ramp with parking for approximately 46 vehicles, a vault comfort station, and 10 picnic sites.  Primitive camping is permitted in designated areas only. This recreation area is located approximately 7 miles east of Columbia, LA on Hwy 4 East.

Harrisonburg Landing Recreation Area
Harrisonburg Landing Recreation Area is located across the Ouachita River Bridge from the Town of Harrisonburg, LA on Hwy 922 North.  This is a great area to bring the family for a day of fishing, grilling, and plenty of fun for the kids on our playground equipment.  The area was once the site of the original lock and dam which marked the southern most point of controlling the Ouachita River.  The concrete steps that lead down to the structure from the housing for the lock master and lock operator’s still remains to this day.  Facilities at this recreation area include a waer-borne comfort station, a 3-lane boat launch ramp, parking to accommodate up to 53 vehicles, four picnic sites, a group pavilion, and playground equipment.

Clayton Landing Recreation Area
Clayton Landing Recreation area is located off LA. Hwy 15 just across the Tensas River from the town of Clayton, LA. This recreation area is a great place to have a picnic lunch with the main attraction to visitors being the late-summer bass fishing, catfishing, and the occasional Sac-a-lait (Crappie). Facilities include six picnic sites, boat launch ramp with parking to accommodate up to 47 vehicles, and a water-borne comfort station.

Jonesville Landing Recreation Area
Located in the city of Jonesville, LA on hwy 124 just of hwy 84, this recreation area offers plenty of picnic sites plus on group picnic shelter to accommodate the largest of gatherings.  Just minutes by boat, this recreation area is located just minutes from the convergence of four navigable rivers including the Ouachita, Black, Tensas, and Little Rivers.  Faclities include a boat ramp, a water-borne comfort station, and parking to accommodate approximately 45 vehicles.

Little River Recreation Area
Located at the intersection of highways 84 and 28, this recreation area is convenient to visitors wishing to have a picnic lunch or just take in the scenic view.  By far, this area is one of the most visited by fisherman seeking to catch their limit of White Perch (Crappie).  This recreation area offers two boat ramps, four picnic sites, a jug-filler water faucet, a water-borne comort station, and parking for approximatly 59 vehicles.

Catahoula Lake Control Structure
At the Catahoula Lake Control Structure, fishing is the favorite recreational activity of visitors.  This is one of our more remote recreation areas, but it is well worth a visit during the peak summer fishing season.  The entire family can enjoy catching a wide variety of freshwater fish species including catfish, bream, perch, and bass.  Catahoula Lake Control Structure is located just off Hwy 28 in LaSalle Parish approximately 10.5 miles south of the intersection of highways 28 and 84.  This recreation area offers parking for approximately 20 vehicles and a restroom.  No boat launch facilities are available at the control structure.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manage the Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge located adjacent to Catahoula Lake.

Jonesville Lock and Dam Recreation Area
Jonesville Lock and Dam Recreation Area offers eight picnic sites, one group picnic shelter, a boat launching ramp, parking to accommodate 35 vehicles, and a water-borne comfort station .  With the close proximity of the Jonesville Lock and Dam to the recreation area, visitors have the opportunity to get an up-close look at a vital flood-control and navigation facility.  The recreation area is located at Jonesville Lock and Dam 12 miles south of the town of Jonesville on Hwy 124 near Glade.  To reserve the picnic shelters contact the Louisiana Field Office.

Recreation Areas Leased to Other Agencies:

Old Lock and Dam No. 8  is under lease to Calhoun County, Arkansas and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.  The area offers 5 RV and tent campsite, a water-borne comfort station, a two-lane boat ramp, and parking for 40 vehicles.  From El Dorado, AR take hwy 167 North.  Go 14.1 miles and turn right onto county road 30.  Remain on country road 30 for 4.4 miles and turn right onto county road 131 then travel 4.3 miles to the recreation area.

Crossett Harbor Recreation Area is managed by the Crossett Port Authority.  The site offer 119 RV and tent campsites with electrical hookups, a 5-lane boat ramp, 25 picnic areas, a boat dock, a trailer dump station, restrooms, and a picnic shelter.

Grand Marais Recreation Area is operated by Union County, Arkansas.  This recreation area offers 50 RV and tent campsites with electrical hookups, a 5-lane boat ramp, parking for 75 vehicles, 3 restrooms with 2 shower facilities, 10 picnic areas, 2 boat docks, and a trailer dump station.

 

FEES:  Determined by managing agency.

Fees:
$3 per day to use a boat launching ramp
$1 per day per person to use a swimming beach
maximum $5 per vehicle per day
Annual Pass for Day User Fees - $30                                                                                                                                   Golden Age Passport/America the Beautiful Card -  50% off for seniors 65 and older

Special Use Facilities                                                                                                                                                               6 picnic shelters are available to reserve for $35 per day.  Golden Age Passport/America the Beautiful Card does not apply.

Felsenthal Lock and Recreation Area
For Reservations Contact:
Felsenthal Lock and Dam (870) 943-2307 ext. 103

Sterlington Recreation Area
For Reservations Contact:
Louisiana Field Office (318) 322-6391 ext. 104 or ext. 105

Riverton Recreation Area
For Reservations Contact:
Columbia Lock and Dam (318) 649-2049 ext. 103 or ext. 104

Columbia Lock and Dam Recreation Area
For Reservations Contact:
Columbia Lock and Dam (318) 649-2049

Harrisonburg Recreation Area
For Reservations Contact:
Jonesville Lock and Dam (318) 339-7839 ext. 102

Jonesville Lock and Dam Recreation Area
For Reservations Contact:
Jonesville Lock and Dam (318) 339-7839 ext. 102