Walkiah Bluff Water Park is an asset

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 25, 2014

LAZY RIVER: The Walkiah Bluff Water Park offers a number of recreational activities including a baseball field, campsites and a boat launch.  Photo by Jeremy Pittari

LAZY RIVER: The Walkiah Bluff Water Park offers a number of recreational activities including a baseball field, campsites and a boat launch.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

Walkiah Bluff Water Park is a recreational campground that offers a number of activities, but is plagued by vandalism.

The Pearl River Basin Development District park built the park back in the late 1960s or 70s. Afterwards, an agreement was signed with the county to operate and maintain the park, said PRBDD Executive Vice President Mike Davis.

The area has a rich history. Pearl River County Emergency Management Director Danny Manley said the area was a trading post at one point in history.

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Today, it not only serves as a place for recreation, but several emergency response agencies use the nearby slough to conduct swift water training.

“It’s a great place with great access,” Manley said. It’s definitely an asset to the county.”

The 18 acre park features a boat ramp, playground, picnic tables with grills and an RV park with bathhouse and utility hookups.

Some renovations recently took place at the park in the form of a new septic system for the bathhouse next to the RV park and new picnic tables, Davis said.

Across the park is the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge, which sits in the state of Louisiana.

Walkiah Bluff resident Lavelle Thompson said he has lived next to the boat launch since 1972 and has seen a number of changes take place, including vandalism.

His grandfather owned a lot of the land in the area. Thompson said at one point his grandfather donated some of the land to the Pearl River Basin Development District, which became the park.

These days Thompson and his neighbor Mack Fox have witnessed the damage vandalism has caused. A small pavilion near the boat launch has restrooms inside, but they have been boarded up due to constant vandalism, Fox said.

Lights around the park have also been hit by vandalism.

Davis said while the county and district try to maintain the park, there is a problem with vandalism.

“We’ve seen a lot of good things happen at the park, but at the same time we have to deal with the vandalism issues,” Davis said. “Unfortunately it is a constant problem. People come out and tear things up as soon as we go in and put thousands of dollars into repairs.”

However, there are efforts to secure funding to do some work at the park. Davis said the county may receive funds in response to the fish kill that occurred several years ago. If those funds are secured then they can be used to conduct major improvements to the park.

One way to address the vandalism would be to have a full time employee on site, Davis said.

However, the park is still a nice place to visit, in spite of the graffiti. Campground Manager Leslie Woodard said RV campsites with utility hookups can be rented for $10 per night. If a primitive experience is what campers are after, sites without utilities can be rented for free. Woodard asks campers to call in advance to reserve their spot since the peak season is approaching. To make a reservation Woodard can be reached by calling 601-590-2073.