Originally named for the Texas folk hero who traveled extensively in the western reaches of Louisiana, Sam Houston Jones was given its current name in honor of the state's 37th governor, who was instrumental in setting aside this tract of land for the public to enjoy. Tree-filled lagoons and a mixed pine-and-hardwood forest characterize this 1,000-acre park located just north of the most productive birding region of Louisiana. The bird watching is always excellent, but at certain times of year, nearly 200 species of birds can be seen at or within 30 miles of the site. Numerous waterways in this area make water sports a natural highlight at the park. Two boat launches are conveniently located on the West Fork of the Calcasieu River, providing access to the Gulf of Mexico, only a few miles away. But it's not necessary to fish to enjoy the water. Rental boats are available those who simply wish to take in the serene beauty of the park's ponds. Three hiking trails wind through this beautiful park. Particularly interesting is the old stagecoach road, which hikers may travel to explore the park and the banks of the various tributaries to the Calcasieu River. NOTE: Due to work under way in the park, boat rentals may not be available. Check ahead for the status and for water conditions relative to paddling. The park is located at 107 Sutherland Road, Lake Charles. From I-10 westbound at Lake Charles, take Highway 171 north toward Deridder; turn west onto Highway 378, then north (right) onto Sam Houston Jones Parkway. From I-10 eastbound, take Highway 378 east, then north (left) onto Sam Houston Jones Parkway. For more information see Louisiana State Parks or call 337-855-2665888-677-7264.