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The Great Swamp Tour Controversy

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Missouri
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The Great Swamp Tour Controversy

I notice in the "Things To Do" area that there seems to be a controversy about the type of boat in which to take a swamp tour. Some believe that the more powerful airboat gives the opportunity to get deeper into the swamp while others see the airboat as destroying the swamp. I want to take a swamp tour when I am there, so I appreciate any feedback in this matter.

I take it that the "swamp tours" are actually given on Lake Martin.

We would prefer a swamp tour in which the alligators and other animals are not treated as "trained animals" by giving them marshmallows to see them come to the boat or do other "tricks", like "tickling" them under the chin. We want to see them respected as the wild animals they truly are in their natural habitats. Any feedback in

this regard is also appreciated.

New Orleans...
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1. Re: The Great Swamp Tour Controversy

The last tour I took in the area was with Kim Voorhies of the Atchafalaya Experience. It is in the Atchafalaya Basin itself, not Lake Martin. When we went, he used a motorized skiff to get from the boat landing at Butte Larose to the dense interior of the Basin, then just poled around silently, using the motor only when significant distances were involved. The boat was shallow draft and held maybe 8 people, allowing us to really get into the swamp's interior and see some wonderful birds and other creatures you would never see with a gigantic airboat scaring everything away. You will only see what he happens to encounter, no feeding marshmallows to gators or any similar nonsense. So you are not guaranteed any particular sightings. I would definitely go again.

http://www.theatchafalayaexperience.com/

San Jose, California
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2. Re: The Great Swamp Tour Controversy

We did a swamp tour at Lake Martin with Butch Gutchereaux - the tour was really good. Butch is very knowlegable and doesnt do any of those tricks you mentioned. I was skeptical about a swamp tour on a lake too, but it got such good reviews that we went for it. The lake is very swampy with lots of inlets and channels.

Missouri
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3. Re: The Great Swamp Tour Controversy

Thank you for that info. It is a shame that the airboat swamp tours around New Orleans have become so Disney-esque. I guess that is what capitalism is all about. The swamp tour companies seem way more interested in running the maximum number of people through their "alligator-and-marshmallow" show than actually giving people a tour of the entire swamp experience.

San Jose, California
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4. Re: The Great Swamp Tour Controversy

Closer to NO we went on a tour several years ago with Capt Nick near Lafitte on. Bayou Barataria. I don't know if he is still doing his tours, but his was quite good as well. Flat bottom boat with outboard motor, so you can go faster or just drift along as appropriate to the situation.

Dallas, Texas
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5. Re: The Great Swamp Tour Controversy

I have also done the Atchafalaya Experience tour with Kim Voorhies. It was absolutely the best thing I have ever done in my life. Went with my mother and sister in March, and we were the only people in the boat. The boat had a shallow bottom, and was partially covered. Initially, I was glad of the cover, because it was an overcast day and threatened to rain. However, my sister and I spent much of the tour sitting outside on the front of the boat. I had no idea what to expect, and was completely blown away by the beauty of the swamp, and by Kim's knowledge and easygoing manner. We did look for alligators, but when Kim would maneuver the boat back into secluded areas of the swamp, he would turn off the engine so that we would not scare the wildlife, and we would just sit and watch in silence, broken every once in a while by Kim's commentary and wonderful stories. No feeding of the animals. We took amazing photographs. The trees covered in Spanish moss are eerily beautiful. Atchafalaya Experience with Kim or Coerte Voorhies is highly, highly recommended!

New York, USA
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6. Re: The Great Swamp Tour Controversy

We toured Lake Martin with Brian Champagne of Champagne Swamp Tours. He uses a boat powered by a fairly quiet outboard motor. No enticement was necessary to observe gators, birds, turtles and other animals. Brian's narration was informative and humorous. Highly recommended.

San Antonio, TX
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7. Re: The Great Swamp Tour Controversy

Just returned from http://www.cajuncountryswamptours.com/ at Lake Martin with Shawn Gutchereaux. It was the highlight of a great visit. The don't have any permanent signs or buildings. You just call, make reservations, and meet them.

It was obvious the great respect this family has for the area and its natural resources.

I don't know about the other tours, but buildings, signs nailed on the docks, and airboats have no place in this lovely area.

These folks have nothing to do with that!

San Jose, California
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8. Re: The Great Swamp Tour Controversy

Octoboy - Glad you enjoyed the tour with the Gutchereauxs. They do a magnificent job and I am happy to hear that they are still going strong.

Reading UK
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9. Re: The Great Swamp Tour Controversy

Another vote for Brian Champagne's operation on Lake Martin. We took one of his swamp tours last October and really enjoyed it.

His boats are small and flat bottomed. We went deep into the swamp and saw lots of birds and several alligators, including a couple at close range, but without disturbing them at all

He has a small shop/cafe on the lake side with a rest room and a deck, and is fully insured, not the case with all the operators I believe

San Antonio, TX
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10. Re: The Great Swamp Tour Controversy

I don't know about the insurance issue, but I appreciate the companies that are NOT building structures even near the lake/swamp.

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