U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
Banner graphic displaying the Fish & Wildlife Service logo and National Wildlife Refuge System tagline

Handy Brake
National Wildlife Refuge

 Abundant natural food and numerous nest boxes attract many breeding wood ducks to the refuge.
11372 Highway 143
Farmerville, LA   71363 - 0201
E-mail: NorthLARefuges@fws.gov
Phone Number: 318-726-4400
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Handy Brake NWR is a small wetland refuge which provide excellent wintering habitat for waterfowl
Gray horizontal line
Handy Brake National Wildlife Refuge

Handy Brake National Wildlife Refuge is located just north of Bastrop in Morehouse Parish, north central Louisiana. The refuge was established in 1988 with the southeast's first fee title transfer of a Farmer's Home Administration tract (466 acres) to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A free lease of 38 acres from International Paper Company increased the refuge to the current 501 acres. An observation platform overlooks a permanent wetland, which is excellent habitat for wintering waterfowl, wading birds and many other wetland dependent species.

Getting There . . .
To reach Handy Brake NWR, take U.S. Hwy 165 into Bastrop, Louisiana. East of the courthouse square and after the divided lanes have merged, turn north onto Cooper Lake Road. Travel approximately 6 miles and look for refuge sign on the east side of the road.

Get Google map and directions to this refuge/WMD from a specified address:

Your full starting address AND town and state OR zip code

Google Maps opens in a new window

NOTE: When using this feature, you will be leaving the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service domain. We do not control the content or policies of the site you are about to visit. You should always check site policies before providing personal information or reusing content.

These driving directions are provided as a general guide only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, road conditions or route usability or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use.

horizontal line

Wildlife and Habitat

Handy Brake NWR consists of a permanent wetland which provides habitat for wintering waterfowl and resident wildlife. Commonly seen species include wood ducks, beavers, frogs, hawks, and alligators.

Learn More>>

    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Wildlife Observation
Learn More >>

Management Activities
Handy Brake NWR has a wood duck nest box project. Water levels are manipulated to provide optimal habitat for nesting and wintering ducks. The refuge lands cleared for agriculture prior to the establishment of the refuge have been reforested to bottomland hardwoods. Prairie grasses were established between the water and the observation tower. Periodic mowing or burning of this prairie area prevents woody vegetation from obscuring the view from the platform and provides habitat for grassland birds and other wildlife species. Handy Brake is managed as a waterfowl sanctuary and access is restricted to the area immediately adjacent to the observation tower.