Are Louisiana swamps really owned by private land owners?

I watch Swamp People regularly. The gator fisherman have mentioned many times they have agreements with the land owners to fish that area. The fish and game tags are issued to the land owners. They give the tags to the gator fisherman. It’s considered poaching if you’re in the wrong area catching gators.

I’m skeptical that swamp land would be owned by anybody. Isn’t that a public resource like a lake or river? How could anyone own something this huge that is a protected wetland resource?

I’ve been trying to find any links for private ownership of the swamps. No luck so far. It’s got me wondering now if private owners bought parts of the Everglades. The whole idea seems so far fetched.

Swamp People has mentioned the United Houma Nation extends into parts of the swamp. They have a couple Houma Indians on the show that fish gators on tribal land.

That makes sense. They have have lived and fished in those swamps for centuries.

I know someone who owns a hunk of land out in the swamp. He used to have a hunting cabin out there until Katrina decided to remove it.

I guess things are different in the swamp areas. My parent bought lake property and had a house trailer setup for weekends. But we didn’t own any part of the lake. I think we had property rights that extended a few feet out into the lake. We had a dock built.

Yes, much of the marsh is owned by private land-owners. Realize that pretty much most of Louisiana south of Interstate 10 is in the water.

Here’s an interactive mapping tool from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources that can generally show you where the state owned land is. Note that this map can take a little while to load.

Sonris interactive map

You’ve clearly never seen my front lawn.

That map explains a lot. I’m surprised how little swamp is owned/claimed by the state.


I’m skeptical that swamp land would be owned by anybody. Isn’t that a public resource like a lake or river? [/QUOTE]

We’ve got a murder case up here that centers around who owns a gravel bar in the middle of a river.

Looks like a relative of those hillbillies in Deliverance. Claiming and killing someone over a tiny gravel bar in a river. geez

My friend was actually on that trip, and witnessed that murder, but I haven’t heard much about it since it happened. My understanding was that whether he owned the land or not, you can’t just go killing peaceful, nonthreatening people. Does the case really hinge on whether or not he owned the sand bar?

Owner was just standing his gravel.

Wow, that pic, straight out of Cops. Dayum.

The trial is set for May. We won’t know until then how the case is laid out.

I’ve canoed a lot of rivers in Missouri, although not the Meramec. I thought it was pretty well settled law in Missouri that the public has an easement up to the ordinary high water mark.

I guess I’m curious who the OP would have thought owned swampland?

Much of the Everglades were private property before the national park was established, and it continues to grow by purchase of private land.

If you’re talking about the streams that run through the swamps, ownership of the land and the right to navigate the stream can be two different things, and state laws differ. A lot of “rivers” in the West have barbed-wire fences across them.

Remember that, for most of this country’s existence, “marsh” was “swamp” and of little or no value unless properly filled. The land under all that water was probably claimed by the last person to arrive - and found all the good (or even usable) land was already claimed.

Look up a map of San Francisco:

Battery Street used to be the shore road; the original Mission Street was a toll plank road over the swamp. Across the bay, the area around Hayward is largely fill. Restoration is slow and incredibly expensive (and not universally loved - the people who own the fill like it just the way it is).

For those who like irony:
For a generation, about the only people interested in preserving swamps were Ducks Unlimited - an organization of duck hunters.

Isn’t much of the Everglades national park land that was originally bought by unscrupulous real estate barons, who then subdivided it and sold it as “prime building land” to saps in the Midwest who had never been within a thousand miles of Florida?

AKA the original “Swampland in Florida” scam?

Lots of lakes and streams (if not rivers) are owned by someone. Ownership and use are two different things.

The rights to “use” and/or own a waterway is known as “riparian rights”. In a general sense, people have a right to boat and/or fish on “navigable waters”, meaning if you can get to the water without going over someone’s land, you can be there. But you can’t trespass across someone’s land to get there. Each state differs in how they define navigable waters and what rights are held by owners and other users.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if most swampland was privately owned. And Louisiana tends to have quite different laws from many states, so I have no way to guess regarding the right to cross and use swamps. And regardless of who owns the land and swamps, state game and fishing commissions generally hold all of the cards when it comes to taking game and fish, no matter whose land or water is involved.

Why is that ironic? In many states, the majority of funding for the preservation of natural land and water is funded by fishing and hunting licenses. Anglers and hunters tend to be heavily involved with natural preservation and funding of natural areas.

I was going to ask the same question. I don’t see the irony. This seems 100% expected and logical to me.