A walk through the wild in Plaquemines Parish uncovers an unexpected piece of history.
A walk through the wild in Plaquemines Parish near New Orleans uncovers an unexpected piece of history. A trip to the Woodlands Conservancy will lead you to a group of abandoned World War II-era relics.
The Woodlands Conservancy was organized in 2001 as a land trust to preserve and restore forested wetlands that protect our community and provide a habitat for wildlife and migratory birds.
Hikers can explore more than 10 miles of natural trails along the property. A trek through the winding trails almost feel like a walk through Jurassic Park, without the dinosaurs.
The Upland Trail and the Bottomland Trail both provide public access through the site with informative kiosks along the routes. In the video above, you can take a virtual walk along the Bottomland Trail which offers scenic exploration for both nature lovers and history buffs.
The Upland Trail is a 1.1 mile loop hiking trail. The Bottomland Trail is a set of parallel trails — one hiking and one equestrian. The parallel trails come together to share water-crossings and are approximately 6 miles in length.
Hikers who stroll along the Bottomland Trail will stumble upon an unexpected piece of history at the end — a grouping of 10 ammunition magazines. These historic relics reveal the property’s use by the military during World War II.
Executive director Katie Brasted said oral histories helped them piece together how the site was used.
“On this site they stored the black power ammunition for the destroyers and the battleships, and that’s why they erected the 10 ammunition magazines,” Brasted said.
Brasted said the site was used as a strategic location to offload explosives. U.S. Marines Corps managed the property and provided security to the area on horseback.
Hikers can even peak inside the World War II-era relics, which are now abandoned structures.
The ammunition magazines were used again during the Korean War. Then, the site was decommissioned in 1963.
Brasted said people looking to explore the site can take note of several values that appeal to different interests. However, she also stresses the importance of the Woodlands Conservancy being one of the region’s last remaining forested wetlands along with Jean Lafitte and Bayou Savage.
“We lost 80 percent of our forested wetlands to development,” Brasted said. “If you look at a bird’s eye view of where this property is located, this will be one of the largest forested landmasses between open water and the city of New Orleans in the next 35 years.”
To check out the World War II-era relics and more, the Woodlands Trail is located at 449 F. Edward Hebert Boulevard in Belle Chasse, La.
The trails are free and open to the public daily from dawn to dusk.
For more information about the Woodlands Conservancy, visit the website.
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