Pascagoula dedicates new Magnolia Birding Pier - - The News for South Mississippi

Pascagoula dedicates new Magnolia Birding Pier

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It's a project to celebrate quality of life and help boost the growing eco-tourism trade.

City leaders in Pascagoula held a dedication ceremony Friday for the new Magnolia Birding Pier. The project represents both recreation and economic development.

As city leaders gathered to celebrate the new bird watching site, right on cue, a great egret could be seen feeding nearby. The spot along the Pascagoula River will not only benefit local birders, it should also lure tourists who seek Mother Nature.

"It's about using the natural resources we have. This wonderful river and this element right here, to promote eco-tourism or nature tourism. It is, in fact, economic development," said Dr. Mark Lasalle, with the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.

The ribbon-cutting was a formality; the pier has actually been open to visitors for several weeks. Angel Beverly comes here frequently to read a book.

"A place where you can go, sit, meditate and enjoy yourself," said the Biloxi resident.

"Oh, there's a great egret right there!" said an excited Don McKee.

He's a hard core bird-watchers who says this spot is a great addition to the Mississippi birding trail.

"It's going to be a great thing for Mississippi economically, but better than that, it's just great to be outdoors enjoying nature," he said.

The pier's close proximity to downtown Pascagoula will allow visitors easy access. It will also be connected with the city's historic pathways project.

"It's well done. It will be very successful. I'm proud to support eco-tourism whenever I can, and certainly in my city," said Mayor Robbie Maxwell.

"A lot of folks don't think about a birding pier as recreation, but it is. Not everybody likes to go out on a boat, or on a ballfield.  They like to go to the end of this pier and sit on a bleacher, or a bench, and read a book," said City Councilman Joe Abston.

Construction on the birding pier began last August and was finished by late November. It's located at the foot of Magnolia Street, where it intersects with Dupont.

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