Book details man's love affair with Horn Island

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - If you've ever been to Horn Island, you know about the barrier island's pristine natural beauty. You may not be aware of a battle led by conservationists to protect the island back in the 1960s and 70s.

That story, and a collection of photographs of Horn Island, are featured in a new book written by retired Pathologist Dr. Donald Bradburn from New Orleans.

Dr. Bradburn spent much of his childhood in Ocean Springs and made many trips to Horn Island.

"I think Horn Island is one of the most beautiful places in the world," said Bradburn. "I took a lot of photos of the island."

Dr. Bradburn began taking pictures on Horn Island back in the 1950s. His new book, "Last Barriers" is a collection of photographs dedicated to the history and preservation of the chain of islands that form the southern boundary of the Mississippi Sound, with an emphasis on his favorite: Horn Island.

The photos capture wildlife, plant life and the island's primitive landscape.

The islands have a poetic place in Dr. Bradburn's heart.

"The barrier islands are the children of waves and wind," Bradburn said with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes.

Dr. Bradburn was a pioneer in the movement to prevent the islands from being turned into what he calls an amusement park when Congress and the Department of the Interior created the Gulf Island National Seashore, run by the National Park Service.

Bradburn said it was a time for action.

"That was when I started trying to figure out how, if they are going to do that, how I could keep them messing the place up."

Bradburn and other conservationists started a campaign to award Horn and Petit Bois islands wilderness status. He said that effort protected the islands from being exploited. "

I'm very happy about that. I feel that's the single most important thing I ever accomplished."

The story of fighting for wilderness designation is included in "Last Barriers" along with more than 100 photographs from Dr. Donald Bradburn's love affair with Mississippi's barrier islands.

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