The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has people working hard to improve nature areas in Morehouse Parish so that nature lovers can better enjoy the great outdoors.

Recent negotiations with the Nature Conservation were finalized Tuesday, leaving the LDWF the new owners of 247 acres bordering Chemin-a-Haut State Park, according to Sec. of the LDWF Robert Barham.

Barham said the new area will be named the Ben Lilly Conservation Area, and it will be used primarily as a new location for outdoor activities for young hunters and outdoorsman.

“Ben Lilly was the guide for Teddy Roosevelt when Roosevelt hunted the bear in Tensas Swamp in 1907,” Barham said. “This will be a place for kids to come and hunt, fish, canoe or just bird watch.”

Barham said the LDWF is encouraging children to get out more and take advantage of the wooded areas in Morehouse Parish.

“That's our main focus,” he said. “We want to attract the young folks. We want new hunters.”

Barham said the new conservation area will border Chemin-a-Haut State Park on the side that is upstream of Bayou Bartholomew. Being on the bayou, they will also build a new boat ramp for canoers and kayakers to launch in the bayou.

Barham also stressed that none of this would be possible without the dedication of one of his assistants.

“Jimmy Anthony, [Assistant Sec. for LDWF], was instrumental in getting this done,” he said. “He will be the administrator for this area.”

According to Barhanm, construction on the new area will begin this fall.

“We're hoping to start around hunting season,” he said. “It's too soon to say when it will be completed, but we're hoping this will give the people in Morehouse Parish a nice place where they can enjoy outdoor activities.”