Lake Bistineau, in Northwest Louisiana, which is the location of one of Louisiana's 22 state parks, is the quintessential beauty of the south, dotted with cypress trees, lined with bayous and rampant with wildlife. It is a serene location worth exploring, with roads that follow the lake with little estuaries fingering out to coves that offer a sleuth the perfect scavenger hunt. The smell and taste of Louisiana are both available as riders explore the area.
Unfortunately, currently over 4,000 acres of the lake is covered in the giant salvinia plant, a recurring problem on the lake, and has prompted a drawdown of the lake which will continue through November. Giant salvinia is an invasive aquatic weed that tends to spread as summer temperatures increase.
Still, the beauty of the area can not be denied, and a scenic ride is in store for those inclined to traverse the area. When visiting, be certain to stop at Our Place Bar & Grill in Elm Grove on a Sunday afternoon where you’ll smell the scent of steak cooking on the smoking grill while guests belt out tunes during the weekly karaoke. The owners are riders and support the riding community with many events and fundraisers. Stop at Brooks’ by the dam and enjoy a cold beverage, and some great food and make time to stop by Roger’s Marina where you'll be treated like family. A trip to the state park offers a view of the cypress trees and wildlife rampant around the area. I recently spotted a doe out foraging for the leafy sustenance all over the area. There is a public swimming pool at the state park and camping is available. Entry fee is just $3.00. Finally, a stop at Camp Joy may be in order, where you’ll find cabins for rent, for about $50, if you plan to spend the night, and enjoy weekend entertainment.
Even with the giant salvinia covering the lake, there is plenty of entertainment and good riding. It also affords an opportunity to support local businesses who always struggle during lake draw downs.