About Us

Located in the heart of the “Cajun Coast,” Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge, established in 2001, sits along Bayou Teche, an ancient channel of the Mississippi River. The refuge consists of mostly swamp located behind the natural levees of the bayou between Franklin, Centerville, and Garden City, LA. Our primary objective at the refuge is to support the Louisiana black bear by restoring and managing bottomland hardwood forests, cypress-tupelo swamps, bayous, and marshes to ensure high quality, diverse habitat. Many other plants and animals benefit from conservation of these habitats. The refuge's location close to the Gulf of Mexico makes it an important landscape for neotropical songbirds during seasonal migrations between the northern and southern hemispheres. The refuge is the homeland of the Chitimacha Tribe. 

Our Mission

Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge is the only refuge established primarily for the threatened Louisiana black bear, a subspecies of the American black bear. 

Other Facilities in this Complex

Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex. Nine Southeast Louisiana Refuges are part of a rich ecological system which includes marshes, pine and bottomland hardwood forests, lakes, barrier islands, swamps and bayous. Ranging from the marshy delta at the mouth of the Mississippi, to the wetlands that help protect New Orleans from hurricanes and provide a nursery to the fisheries that support the region’s food economy, to the wild bayous of the Atchafalaya Basin; the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges preserve wildlife, habitat, and recreation opportunities representative of this unique part of the country.

All of the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges are open to public visits for nature-based recreational enjoyment. Priority public uses are hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, environmental education, and interpretation.

The refuge complex headquarters is located at 61389 Hwy 434, Lacombe, Louisiana 70445. This site also hosts the Bayou Lacombe Visitor Center and has walking trails that wind through an historic garden site and along Bayou Lacombe.