The 130 acres of the Camp Salmen Nature Park were once part of the Salmen Brick and Lumber Company. Many bricks used to build New Orleans were manufactured on this site. The only remaining building in the camp is of historical and architectural significance. It is a French Creole residence and one of only 26 buildings in the parish which date before the Civil War. It has been named the Salmen Lodge, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
According to legend, in 1921 an unknown Boy Scout shared an umbrella with Fritz Salmen of the Salmen Brick and Lumber Company. The scout refused a tip, and this led to Salmen's company donating a 72.5 acre tract of land on Bayou Liberty for use as a scouting camp in 1924. In 1956, Fritz's son Fred donated another 35 acres adjoining Camp Salmen.
PRESENT CAMP SALMEN
Camp Salmen was a Boy Scout summer camp for nearly 60 years. In 2001, St. Tammany Parish entered into an agreement with the Trust for Public Lands to acquire the property. One of the primary goals of the Camp Salmen Nature Park is to restore a unique ecological treasure through a comprehensive management program. This will lead to the property being a living museum, housing both restored historic properties and the full collection of plants and animals which can flourish in this habitat. In the Grotto Garden, visitors may enjoy a variety of native flora.
The camp is divided into six different management areas, according to the different landscapes and habitats found within each. There are four trail loops (called Interpretive Journeys) designated on the next map, and each trail loop will bring visitors to one or more different landscapes. Plants and animals native to these areas can be seen on the trail loops. The Interpretive Journey trail system will include approximately 32,500 linear feet of interpretive trails and boardwalks. Educational signs will guide hikers through the management areas and point out environmental and historical points of interest.
FUTURE OF CAMP SALMEN
By managing the different landscapes and habitats found in Camp Salmen, much of the park will be returned to how it appeared to early European settlers in the 18th century. The completion of all the Interpretive Journeys will provide visitors an opportunity to learn about this important part of Louisiana history and natural habitat. These trails will eventually link with the Tammany Trace, a 31-mile rails-to-trails recreational corridor which connects the St. Tammany cities of Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Lacombe and Slidell.The ecological management areas will allow for growth and development of a variety of habitats, including a Long Leaf Pine Savannah. The preservation of the park will create one of the most important educational tools in Southeast Louisiana. The park will eventually provide a Welcome and Nature Center, with rooms available for instruction and presentations.
Please enjoy the history and ecological treasure that is Camp Salmen Nature Park.