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Stretching from Lafayette to New Orleans, the Atchafalaya Basin is America’s largest river swamp containing almost one million acres. The Atchafalaya Basin (pronounced ah-CHA-fa-lie-ah) is divided into 5 regions, and here we describe the Coastal Zone region. Exploration is best done by water Ô embark on a canoe or kayak trip or take one of the many guided swamp tours. There are outfitters in Franklin, Patterson and Morgan City or head out on your own. Explore the hauntingly beautiful scenery of live oaks, cascades of Spanish moss, bottomland hardwoods, swamps, bayous, and backwater lakes and the chance to glimpse beaver, mink, bobcat or alligators. The habitat supports a thriving community of birds — almost 400 species including spoonbills, whooping cranes, waterfowl, and eagles. Ecologists rank the basin as one of the most productive wildlife areas in North America. Almost 22 million pounds of crawfish are commercially harvested here annually.
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