WHEN:  Wednesday, July 19th-3-5pm

WHERE:  Old Ft. Bayou, 2501 Bienville Boulevard, Ocean Springs

Ocean Springs, Miss. – Ocean Springs is now home to a mile-long looping trail and raised boardwalk overlooking Old Fort Bayou.  This project has been funded in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under an assistance agreement (#C999486619) to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.  The funds were awarded to the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain (LTMCP) through a subgrant with MDEQ.

The trail crosses two LTMCP owned properties: The Thrash Property (27 acres) and the Hussey Property (11 acres). These properties include mixed hardwood forest and estuarine tidal marsh, two very important ecosystems for native plants and animals to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Visitors to the trail will enjoy seeing native fox, rabbits, snakes, turtles, osprey, egrets, heron, as well as Eastern Red Cedars, Black Needle Rush, Live Oaks, Virginia Chain Ferns, Cinnamon Ferns, Royal Ferns, Devils Walking Sticks, and a very important snag which is home to a Bald Eagle.  There is also an outdoor classroom on the trail that will allow local schools, home school groups and the public to engage in hands-on learning that emphasizes the importance of environmental stewardship.

MDEQ and LTMCP have worked as partners for many years to sustain and improve properties in our area. The mission of LTMCP is to conserve, promote and protect open spaces and green spaces of ecological, cultural, or scenic significance. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for protecting the state’s air, land and water. Its mission is to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of present and future generations of Mississippians by conserving and improving our environment and fostering wise economic growth through focused research and responsible regulation.

“We appreciate our long-standing partnership with the Land Trust and are proud to support the work they do which also helps us make strides in fulfilling our own mission,” said Chris Wells, MDEQ Executive Director.

“Grant funding such as this from MDEQ is critical to the success of our land trust’s mission.  This support allows us to maintain and improve properties that may have otherwise been lost to neglect or misuse,” said LTMCP Executive Director, Sara Guice.

Mississippi State University participated in this project through architectural services provided by Gulf Coast Community Design Studio. Jackson County Board of Supervisors supported this project with efforts to increase awareness for the Old Fort Bayou Blueway.

MDEQ and the LTMCP will host a reception to celebrate the public opening of the trail on Wednesday, July 19, at 3 p.m. at the property on 2501 Bienville Boulevard in Ocean Springs (behind the Inlet Condominiums, public parking available on site).