FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2009
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
Ceremony to be held for nature trails at Plymouth Bluff Center
COLUMBUS, Miss. - A special recognition program will be held Wednesday, July 15 at 10 a.m. to mark the completion of a two-year project to improve the 3.5 mile natural trail system at the Plymouth Bluff Center.
Significant improvements funded by a $111,872 Recreational Trails Program grant include application of a crushed limestone surface, new or improved footbridges, new steps down to the floodplain and signs that provide directions and other useful information.
“The new crushed limestone surface, combined with existing asphalt trails, allows users to walk almost the entire 3.5 miles without encountering native prairie soil that is notoriously sticky when wet,” said Dr. Harry Sherman, coordinator of public programs at the Plymouth Bluff Center.
Sherman noted that ¼ mile long segment of the trail system has been named in honor of Howard T. Williams for his service as an outstanding scoutmaster and community leader.
“Many of the Eagle Scout service projects on the trails were planned and constructed by members of BSA Troop 63 and Troop 1 during the time Williams served as scoutmaster for these units,” he said. “The first of these projects were completed on the 42 acres of MUW property in the early 1980s, long before the Plymouth Bluff Center was officially opened in 1996.”
Jim and Dianne Patterson, members of the Oktibbeha Audubon Society, have been taking advantage of the trails since they were developed.
“My wife and I walk the trails fairly often and lead groups on bird walks along the trails,” he said, noting the trails are more user-friendly. “It’s a great place to walk and enjoy nature.”
The Recreational Trails Program grant was funded by the Federal Highway Commission and administered by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. The grant paid 80 percent (89,498 of the total listed cost of the two-year project with 20 percent ($22,374) matching money provided through MUW through another federal source and private donations to the MUW Foundation.
“Plymouth Bluff trails are designed for hiking and are open to the public during daylight hours,” Sherman said. No unauthorized motor vehicles are allowed and bicycle or equestrian use is discouraged because of the narrow width of the trails.
For more information about the trails or facility, call (662) 241-6214.