Moss Point gets Audubon Trail grant

Published 7:55 pm Friday, November 24, 2006

Moss Point is getting a $1 million grant to build a walking trail as part of the city’s transformation from an industrial town to a tourist-friendly waterfront community.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation is giving the grant to the city to lay out a four-mile walking trail, dubbed the Audubon Trail, aimed providing residents and tourists with a way to get closer to wildlife.

The trail will start at the new Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point and will travel southwest, crossing onto an island, where it will circle two MDOT-owned ponds.

The project is designed to give the public an up-close look at wildlife in the Pascagoula River, Economic Development Consultant Linda Holden said in a news release Wednesday.

Mark LaSalle, director of the Pascagoula Audubon Center, said he is unsure exactly when construction on the trail will begin or how long it would take to complete.

LaSalle said part of the trail will be an elevated boardwalk above some wetlands areas and another part will consist of “foot pads” that allow walkers to get close to nature.

He said the experience of walking on the trail will be vastly different and more intimate than just sitting and watching from the shore.

“It gives them direct access to the wetlands and to all the beautiful wildlife that’s out there,” LaSalle added.

The trail is part of Moss Point’s larger Waterfront Development Plan, a city beautification initiative that focuses on changing the city into a waterfront community open to ecotourism instead of an industrial city.

The Pascagoula River flows a total of 81 miles, and the basin covers 8,800 square miles, according to the Audubon Society.