Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge

Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in October 2000 as the 526th refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It is located near St. Francisville, Louisiana, which is 25 miles north of Baton Rouge. The Refuge was established to conserve, restore, and manage native forested wetland habitats for migratory birds, aquatic resources, and endangered & threatened plants and animals. Additionally, it was created to encourage the participation of volunteers and facilitate partnerships among the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, local communities, and conservation organizations to remote public awareness of resources of the refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The refuge is located along the southern-most non-levee portion of the lower Mississippi River and completely floods in most years. The river may rise several times during the year beginning in late December through June. Some areas of the refuge receive more than 15 feet of water. As the river rises, the refuge becomes closed to all vehicular access. River levels can be checked at Road access becomes restricted when water levels exceed approximately 23 feet on the Baton Rouge river gauge. 

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Latitude: 30.755327 Longitude: -91.57704 Elevation: 44 ft

Recreational Opportunities

Public use opportunities on the refuge include fishing, hunting, wildlife observation, hiking, photography, and canoeing/kayaking.  Refuge lands are open year round sunrise to sunset. ATV access for hunting on designated trails is limited to hunting season. Consult the Cat Island NWR regulations website for further details.

Seasons Accessible

Big Cypress Trail The national champion bald cypress tree is located along this 0.75 mile round trip trail. The trailhead is located about five miles from the refuge entrance. The champion tree is the largest tree of any species in the United States east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The trailhead is about 4.6 miles from the refuge entrance. Blackfork Trail This 2.5 mile round trip trail follows along the scenic Blackfork Bayou. Several large bald cypress trees are located along the trail. The trailhead is about 1.75 miles to the refuge entrance.

Enjoy your visit to Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge!


An annual public use permit is required for all hunting and fishing on Cat Island NWR.

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