Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge
Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge information
A little further than 7 miles northwest of St Francisville, you can stalk the largest North American bald cypress tree at Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge – so long as the Mississippi River is below 19-ft flood stage at Baton Rouge; the park is usually under water from January through June. This impressive tree stands 83ft tall with a circumference of 56ft, and may be about 1000 years old. It’s hard to tell exactly, because as bald cypress age, their core hollows out. That’s great for swampland creatures who need a new home, but not so helpful for scientists studying tree rings. ‘Knees’ of a cypress, the woody projections that jut up from the roots, usually rise a foot or two above the swamp floor – many of the ones here stand taller than a man, so it’s definitely been around for a while.