The Camp Livingston site is part of Kisatchie National Forest. It resembles other parts of Kistatchie that I have visited: red clay and longleaf and other yellow pines are predominate. What made this obviously different was the predominance of well-built paved roads.

MAHR cohort pausing for lunch in Kisatchie, near Camp Livingston site

MAHR cohort pausing for lunch in Kisatchie, near Camp Livingston site

 

Our visit was punctuated by torrential downpours. The rain offered a respite just long enough to see the enlisted swimming pool area. At first I thought this would be a great place for camping. Then I noticed the bullet and shotgun shell casings around the area of the enlisted pool and heard that the place gets overrun with four wheelers in the Fall. There were no other visitors other than our cohort to the site during our time there.

 

Rodney Stone, District Ranger of the Catahoula Ranger District provided our group with  the 1945 Army map of Camp Livingston, an informative handout entitled “Camp Livingston Information,” and additional information on Kisatchie.

 

The scale of Camp Livingston- some 3,000 acres- and the scattered nature of the remaining above ground artifacts makes it somewhat difficult to preserve or interpret. Also, the Forest Service is likely to be just as concerned with selling pine sawtimber and pulpwood (in a sustainable manner)  and maintaining Kisatchie’s core mission, caring for the land (managing the 640,000 acres of forest) and serving people (presumably keeping people from destroying the natural resources) as preserving one of many de-commissioned sites that once had 400,000 military in the area.

 

Despite the makeshift shooting range in what was the enlisted swimming pool, the Camp Livingston area does offer good recreational possibilities. The paved streets provide good access to deeply wooded areas, even for the average passenger vehicle. The site is perfect for hunting (in season, with license, and according to regulations), four wheel riding, hiking and horseback riding.

 

The water tower and water tower building (which we did not see) should probably be nominated for the National Register as a living piece of Camp Livingston architecture. An interpretive plaque or larger covered signage should alert the public to the importance of Camp Livingston, and offer some interpretation of the military camp that once stood there.

 

The site made me think long and hard about adaptive re-utilization. Central Louisiana has been coming to grips with the downsizing of the military since the end of the “Cold War” and the more recent implementation of “lean production” within the military, privatization of key logistical and support services, and the outsourcing of traditional military functions.

 

 

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