In a short period of time Slidell expanded from the quaint old brick downtown that originated down by the railroad tracks, into a pretty good-sized metropolis; ranked twelfth in Louisiana’s roster of cities. However, only a third of the people who live in the Greater Slidell Area actually live inside the smaller municipal boundary, the rest are spread out in every direction across the surrounding hundred square miles.
Camp Salmen was once an isolated destination way outside of town. It was at the end of a long, dusty drive. The Scouts had to travel through piney woods and across marshes to get here from neighboring communities. Now, since we’ve slicked-up the road system a bit and built suburbia all around this patch of woods, it’s become an urban park.
All is not lost, especially for city-addled citizens and the remaining wildlife, for this refuge, along with the other large, wooded properties in the riparian zone on Bayou Liberty, are part of a wildlife corridor linking the woods to the north with the woods and marshes to the south and west. Take a look at a Google Map satellite view and you’ll see its greener along the bayou (you can also look up riparian zone while you’re at it).
Some of the animals that troop through the park are super-secretive creatures that absolutely HATE to be around humans and avoid them at all costs: deer, coyotes and bobcats for instance. They travel up and down the corridor, furtively staying hidden in the brush and move about only under cover of darkness. However, some of them are not above slinking up to the edges of civilization to look for something to eat like a chicken or something from the garden.
Other animals like squirrels, rabbits and raccoons are exhibitionists in comparison. They don’t mind people at all, as long as they keep their distance. These wily creatures know they can scamper up a tree or bolt into the bush or growl ferociously and bare their teeth to avoid any real life or death confrontation with humans; it’s the aforementioned predators they need to worry about. Still, we’re all just one big, happy family at the park so come visit us.