The thousands of bird-watchers, photographers, kayakers and other nature enthusiasts who visit Lake Martin every year have something else to look for while scoping the scenic swampland. Acadiana’s own recreational hotspot is now also home to a snack stand and bait shop, fully equipped with nachos, hot dogs, crickets and an alternate boat launch.

The Teche News’ Ken Grissom writes that publicity for swamp tour guide Bryan Champagne’s new Cajun store has been flooded by a kayaker’s recent discovery of a body in Lake Martin, which led the unfortunate finder to Champagne’s new bait stand and snack shop to report the news.

But bad headlines aside, Champagne’s snack shop boasts food, bait, an open deck for tour-takers or patrons to enjoy — and another boat ramp that provides an alternative to the “often busy” public ramp at Lake Martin:

Just about the whole east shoreline of the lake is privately owned, although development has been curtailed in favor of the wilderness that attracts both nesting birds and tourists. The western shoreline, including the famous rookery, is owned by the Nature Conservancy, which has added a board walk and interpretive center.

In addition to his bait store, Champagne, a Breaux Bridge native who says on his website that he was born and raised on the banks of the Bayou Teche, works full-time giving swamp tours across Lake Martin’s 9,500 acres.

The Cypress Island Preserve, a project of the Nature Conservancy, has brought new life to Lake Martin over the past few years with the building of a boardwalk, new walking trails and a picnic pavilion to enhance the bird rookery.

The Independent’s Cool Town panel also weighed in on the popular swampland, voting Lake Martin as the most creative use of a Sunday morning.

Read more here and here.

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