Webster Parish has one of the state’s oldest parks. Lake Bistineau had a rough year last year but officials said it’s finally making a turn-around.
However funding remains a problem but you can help.
The Louisiana State Parks Department said this year is the first time in several years more money is going into the parks system. Lake Bistineau is receiving more than a million dollars for upgrades to attract more people.
A giant salvinia takeover, too much flooding and not enough money all created problems for Lake Bistineau in 2017. But the park is now bouncing back thanks to cold weather killing the salvinia and financial help from the state. 22-million dollars will go towards parks state-wide and 1.2-million dollars goes to the Lake Bisitineau State Park.
“That’s a combination of BP money and also from from our fees. For a long time, from 2008 to 2014, all of our maintenance funds were swept and put in the general fund and we didn’t have any. So this year was the first year in a long time that had money to put back into the park,” said Gene Reynolds, LA State Parks assistant secretary.
The park will soon open its new cabins and big lodge which were completely rebuilt after being flood damaged. They plan to add a beach and splash pad for kids. The spaces allow families to spend weekends enjoying the great outdoors.
“So we’re spending a lot of money there trying to entice people to come out and visit and put a little more emphasis on kids activities,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said the Lake Bistineau Park improves the economy and protects wildlife. They’re looking for more public-private partnerships to add more features. He said they need people to come and explore the park.
“We have the least amount of visitation in the whole state so we’ve got to get that visitation up so our park will move up the list. In case of budget cuts we don’t want it to close. So come out and visit us,” Reynolds said.
They plan to open the cabins by October in time for winter and have the lake ready for fishing events by the spring.
You can visit their website to learn how to rent a cabin.