By Chase Berenson
With all of these summer rains Baton Rouge, it can be difficult to choose an adventure. The capital city often has a limited weather window, and for many, sinking a lot of time and preparation into getting outdoors can seem like a fruitless task when rain could be pouring by the time you get there.
This is a good time to remember local options, and BREC’s Forest Community Park is a great spot just down the road. Forest Park is a quick place to get to when the clouds momentarily part, and the park fits in a lot of activities even though it’s small enough that you’re never too far from the car.
Forest Community Park has one of the longest walking trail networks of any of BREC’s parks, clocking in at 1.7 miles spread over four trails. The Forest Trail loops through the woods and around the tennis courts, while the Pond Loops take various trips around the fishing pond. The Forest Trail is wide and gravelly, as opposed to the asphalt surface of the Pond Loops.
The majority of park visitors stick to the areas with roads, which means the short stretch of the Forest Trail that actually traverses the woods feels slightly more remote. Keep an eye out for large animals such as deer that snack on the foliage along the edge of the trail!
Of course, there are options for people more inclined to wet a line rather than walking in loops around the fishing pond. The pond is stocked with trout and has a four fish per day limit. Walking the loops, it is possible to see large fish swimming in the shallows, hinting at what catches are down in the deeper center of the pond. To reach the center, there is a pier built over the water to allow for easier fishing.
The park also features one of BREC’s few dog parks! After spending some time with the humans at the pond or wandering the trail, your four-legged friend would probably love some time off-leash. Even if the terrain is a little wet, we’re sure you long ago resigned yourself to muddy paw prints as just one of the small costs of dog ownership.
A few spots on the trails have a couple inches of standing water after all the rain, so be sure to wear shoes that can get wet. And if it does start raining again while you’re out there, you should be able to make it back to the car easily.
Even a short jaunt on an easy trail can improve your day and make you realize the foolishness of so many people around the city who have decided that it’s too much trouble to get outdoors.