Living only two or three hours from south Louisiana, I have had the pleasure of taking many swamp tours over the past ten years. All have been fun, in their own way; but this one stands out. I mean "head and shoulders" above all of the others. For one thing, the tour guides -- Butch and his son, Shawn -- are very interested in maintaining the ecology of the area. No, they are not starry eyed idealists; they are pragmatists who are interested in preserving the wetlands and the way of life supported by bayous and swamps, in general, and Lake Martin, in particular. If you are looking for a tour where the driver lures "gators" to the boat by throwing out marshmallows, look elsewhere. These guys respect the wildlife and help the guests get a better picture of the long term consequences of exploitation. Yes, you may see alligators. We saw many the time we toured in September, just a few most recently in December. The beauty if this setting is that you will see something spectacular, depending on the season. This past trip, we saw a Bald Eagle. We saw hundreds of Great White Egrets, a dozen or so Blue Herons, one Tricolor Heron, many Ibis and Anhenga and other birds that only serious birders could identify. The flora were pretty bare in December, but that enhanced the stark beauty of the Spanish Moss in the Baldcypress and Tupelo Gum trees. Guests will learn much about the history of the waterway, the politics that led to the creation of the lake, and current threats to the area -- including but not limited to those who would like to see more commercial development. By the way, our "two hour" tour lasted almost three hours. You might be wise to use the available environmentally friendly porta-potties before you head out.
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