Jan 19, 2010 12:20 PM by Rob Kirkpatrick
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The Evangeline Area Council of the Boy
Scouts will leave their mark on the Atchafalaya Basin this year by
planting cypress tree as part of a yearlong celebration of
scouting's 100th anniversary.
On Feb. 20, 800 Scouts will gather in the Basin to create what
will be called the Centennial Forest.
Scouts in the eight-parish Evangeline Area Council are starting
their centennial celebration by planting 3,000 to 4,000 cypress
trees on nearly 300 acres of state land near the visitor's center
off Interstate 10 at Butte LaRose.
"We want to be able to look at the Atchafalaya Basin as our
'good turn,"' Gary McGoffin of Lafayette, president of the
Evangeline Area Council, said.
"It's America's largest river delta. It's 838,000 acres. It's
bigger than the Florida Everglades, and since the levees have been
built, people don't use it," he said.
Toni DeBosier, a coastal scientist and forester with the
Louisiana Department of Natural Resources says the location is
perfect because the area lost so many trees to hurricanes in recent
The Boy Scouts' plans extend beyond the Centennial Forest,
McGoffin said. They're planning a Basin trash cleanup later this
They want to establish primitive campsites in the Basin that
Scouts and non-Scouts can use. They hope to develop hiking trails
and create trails for canoeing and kayaking.
"We've got a 175-mile-long Atchafalaya River," McGoffin, a
lifelong Scout, said. "You can hike, you can paddle, you can ATV,
and when you get down south, you can go deep sea fishing out of