Natchitoches Parish/Louisiana Central is joining the celebration for National Great Outdoors Month by encouraging residents and visitors to take advantage of the vast and unique outdoor opportunities across the 10-parish region.

President Joe Biden proclaimed June 2021 as Great Outdoors Month to celebrate the nation’s natural wonders and to rededicate the nation to conserving nature’s splendor. The outdoors inspires creativity, recreation and contemplation. It also provides educational opportunities, brings communities together and provides economic opportunities through industry development and tourism.

In the Louisiana Central region, that means enjoying the abundance of incredible outdoor spaces that provide opportunities for exploration and recreation. Louisiana Central is home to Louisiana’s only national forest, four national wildlife refuges, the state’s longest hiking trail, and its only designated national wild and scenic river.

“We encourage residents and visitors to get outside and enjoy all that the region has to offer,” said Jim Clinton, president and CEO of Louisiana Central, formerly the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “Each of our parishes offers plenty of outdoor opportunities, such as hiking, picnicking, swimming, fishing and bicycle riding. No matter where you live or visit, you’ll be able to find activities near you.”

Louisiana Central launched its Outdoor Central Initiative to jumpstart a thriving outdoor recreation economy. This work is done by increasing access to, demand for, and use of central Louisiana’s outdoor recreation assets for everyone.

“As a rural region with amazing natural resources, we see the importance of this opportunity to spur economic recovery, grow jobs, and support entrepreneurs with an initiative that aligns so closely with our local culture,” Clinton said. According to Outdoor Industry Association, Central Louisiana residents spend an average of $2.8 billion on outdoor recreation each year.

Louisiana Central consists of the parishes of Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon, and Winn. The Louisiana Central website provides a list of outdoor opportunities in each parish. For more information, visit www.louisiana-central.com/outdoor-recreation.

“Central Louisiana is a unique and amazing place for outdoor recreation,” said Bahia Nightengale, Executive Director for Farm and Food. “We encourage visitors to see what we have to offer, and we encourage locals to try out locations never before visited.”

Louisiana Central is an organization that acts as a catalyst, leader, and connector to build a knowledge and innovation-driven economy so that our region will continue growing into a uniquely creative, inclusive, and entrepreneurial place. Louisiana Central cares passionately that the people of Central Louisiana, our home, have livable incomes and build intergenerational wealth. We value knowledge as primary currency – deployed to improve the profitability and competitiveness of business. We build vibrant communities to create, attract, and retain employers in places where people want to live. We measure success by the region’s median household income increasing faster than the nation as a whole.

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