Cypress Island Preserve
—Atchafalaya Water Heritage Trail —
In the early 1950s, a five mile levee was built around a naturally occurring open body of water within a cypress-tupelo swamp to hold water throughout the year. This created Lake Martin as it is known today.
Located in the heart of Acadian Louisiana, Lake Martin (formerly known as Lake la Pointe) is a naturally occurring open body of water within a cypress-tupelo swamp. Historically, each fall and winter this low area would fill with rainwater and backwater from the Vermilion River and Bayou Teche. It would drain gradually through the spring and become essentially dry in summer. In the early 1950s, private landowners and a local agency agreed to construct a five-mile levee around the lake and forested areas to hold water throughout the year. The impounded area within the levee was designated as a fish and game preserve open for public recreation. Today Lake Martin is approximately 765 acres, with about 200 acres of open water and the rest a permanently-flooded cypress-tupelo swamp. Property around Lake Martin is still entirely private. Public use of surrounding woodlands, other than walking on identified trails, is by permission only.
Throughout the years Lake Martin has become a popular local fishing and outdoor-recreation hot-spot. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries takes an active role in managing
Lake Martin is part of the greater Lake Martin Important Bird Area and is situated within The Nature Conservancy’s Cypress Island Preserve, the largest remaining tract of hardwood forest in the Teche-Vermilion watershed. This preserve protects almost 10,000 acres of wild bottomland hardwood forest habitat and cypress-tupelo swamp. Lake Martin’s nationally significant waterbird rookery serves as a popular spring nesting spot for a variety of herons, egrets, neotropic cormorants, roseate spoonbills, white ibis and anhingas, and some species stay at the lake year-round.
A small visitor center and boardwalk run by The Nature Conservancy are located at the south end of Lake Martin, and a 2.5-mile levee walking trail is open from fall to spring.
Visit Atchafalaya.org for more information about this site.
This site’s geology/geomorphology: Holocene meander-belt (point bar) deposits of Bayou Portage occupation of Mississippi River
Erected by State of Louisiana and National Park Service.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Atchafalaya Water Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 30° 12.176′ N, 91° 54.05′ W. Marker is in St. Martinville, Louisiana, in Saint Martin Parish. Marker can be reached from Prairie Highway (State Highway 353) south of Rookery Road, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1264 Prairie Highwy, Saint Martinville LA 70582, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Wetlands (within shouting distance of this marker); American Alligator (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Scholastique Picou Breaux (approx. 4.9 miles away); St. Bernard's Catholic Church (approx. 4.9 miles away); Mulate's (approx. 5 miles away); St. Cecilia School (approx. 5.4 miles away); Vermilion River (approx. 5.8 miles away); François Coulee (approx. 6.4 miles away).
Categories. • Environment • Parks & Recreational Areas • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 7, 2018. This page originally submitted on March 2, 2018, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 69 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 2, 2018.