Poverty Point Reservoir State Park, only a few miles from Poverty Point World Heritage Site, the recently inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of my favorite parks to visit, whether for a day trip or overnight. The beach area is ideal for watching birds fly over the reservoir; in the winter, it’s a lovely place for peaceful contemplation. And with lodges, cabins and campsites, visitors have a wide variety of overnight accommodations.
The trees have matured since the reservoir’s creation in 2001, giving a lush, green atmosphere that becomes almost magical at sunset. Waterfront cabins (although they’re really built over the water) are a great place to enjoy the sunset with your favorite beverage. They are perfect for relaxing after a day of visiting the nearby Poverty Point World Heritage Site, hitting the links at Black Bear Golf Club or pulling your boat out of the park’s marina and catching a mess of white perch, also known as crappie or sac au lait, for supper.
There are also RV campsites and tent campsites for those that like to rough it (bringing and cooking my own food on a vacation is rough enough for me). The campground has a laundry room and shower facilities, so your camping can be as primitive or civilized as you like. For the kids (and kids at heart), the water playground is a treat on a hot summer day!
Despite being less than 3 miles from I-20, the park is home to an abundance of wildlife. Louisiana black bears are often sighted near the reservoir, and more than a few have been spotted on the greens at the golf course named after the official state mammal. Campers definitely should secure their trash bins and not leave food outside unattended. Depending on the season, visitors will see ducks, geese and pelicans migrating along the Mississippi Flyway.
Marsden Mounds, located on-site, were built in three separate phases over a period of 1,000 years, beginning about 2,000 years ago. These mounds are believed to be a part of a complex Native American culture in place centuries before European settlers arrived. A walk along the park’s half-mile trail takes you close to this historical area.
And for an even more fantastic visit to the past, head 20 minutes up the road to Poverty Point World Heritage Site. It’s a complex of Native American ceremonial mounds built between 1700 and 1100 B.C., making it one of the most significant archaeological sites in the country. The views from Mound A are simply breathtaking; even more incredible is the amount of work that went into building this mound. It’s estimated to be constructed from about 53 million cubic feet of soil, all of which had to be moved via hand or buckets.
Ponder that, while enjoying the sunset, back at Poverty Point Reservoir State Park.