Joyce WMA is a wetland within the Pontchartrain Basin; it mainly consists of cypress-tupelo swamp. A large portion of the area is a dense shrub marsh community with red maple, wax myrtle, red bay, and younger cypress-tupelo. There is a 500-acre freshwater marsh, mainly of maiden cane, on the northern portion of the WMA.
In 1982, the Joyce Foundation donated the 12,809 acres that originally comprised Joyce WMA. In 1994, the Guste Heirs donated an additional 2,250 acres. LDWF acquired the 8,364-acre Salmen/Octavia Tract in 2008 and the 2,729-acre Dendinger Tract in 2010. LDWF leases an additional 484 acres from the Tangipahoa Parish School Board.
Activities and Amenities
Hunting and trapping: Popular game species on Joyce WMA include white-tailed deer, waterfowl, rabbit, and squirrel. There is a youth deer season. See regulations for details.
Fishing and boating: Nearby boat launches include one at North Pass at U.S. Hwy 51, Lee’s Landing, and Traino Landing, south of LA Hwy 22. Common freshwater fish available on Joyce WMA include largemouth bass, sunfish, and catfish. Frogging is also available. See regulations for details.
Birding and wildlife viewing: Popular for birding, Joyce WMA is a site along the American Wetlands Birding Trail. Bald eagles and osprey nest in and around the WMA. Numerous other species of birds, including neotropical migrants, use this coastal forest during fall and spring migrations. Resident waterfowl, including hooded mergansers and wood, mottled, and black-bellied whistling ducks, are found in the area year-round. LDWF maintains and monitors more than 50 wood duck nesting boxes on the area.
Alligators and a variety of other reptiles and amphibians are common on Joyce WMA. LDWF constructed an elevated “Swamp Walk” boardwalk in 1990 to provide WMA visitors with an opportunity to view the swamp interior and observe the associated wildlife and vegetation. LDWF renovated the boardwalk after it was damaged by Hurricane Isaac.
There is a Limited Access Area located in the northwestern corner; the use of internal combustion engines is prohibited in this area year-round.
LDWF and the Tangipahoa Parish School Board
Joyce WMA is located 5 miles south of Hammond. Access to the interior of the property is limited; there are no roads that lead into the swamp. Several abandoned logging canals enter the area from the west off of U.S. Hwy 51; however, these canals are narrow and travel is limited to pirogues and canoes and only during moderate to high water periods. Access by outboard motor is limited to the upper reaches of Middle and Black Bayous as well as the Tangipahoa River and Bedico Creek. There is a public boat launch on North Pass at U.S. Hwy 51. Other access points include Lee’s Landing and Traino Landing, south of LA Hwy 22. There are self-clearing permit stations throughout the WMA.