Man has vision for the MS Gulf Coast: Greenways, blueways, pathways

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Through greenways, blueways and pathways the paddling trails network will ensure fun family activity, but the Mississippi Coastal Heritage Trail Partnership said it will also do a lot more.

"This is a small example of a trail that is a part of the larger network. This trail is a paddling trail. We call it a blueway," said President of Mississippi Coastal Heritage Trail Partnership Jim Foster, pointing to a rendering of the blueway.

This network of trails is something Foster feels passionately about.

"The assets that the pathways the trails even the sidewalks is that they're not expensive compared to roadways, but they're critical for Mississippi because we're a sedentary state and our dietary habits require us to be more active," said Foster.

But Foster does more than preach his vision. He lives it. As he kayaked on the Mississippi Sound, on what he hopes to be the Southeast Coast paddling trail, he wants it to be part of what will link the six coastal counties to surrounding areas on the Mississippi Coastal Heritage trail. It's also called, "the boarder to boarder trail."

"Southeast Coast Paddling Trail will connect Florida to Texas, across the Mississippi Sound, across Alabama and through Louisiana," said Foster. "Another great thing is the eco-tourism is possible," said Foster. "People are traveling great distances and spending lots of money in order to see the kind of gulf of Mexico."

To him, the possibilities of the trails network are limitless. But, the vision needs support.

"It's a matter of having the money to develop the educational materials," said Foster "It's a matter of having the jurisdictions."

With a little time and money, he's confident it will happen.

"It's probably going to be a decade to have it all done," said Foster.

Something, to him, that's well worth the wait.

"We have to have safe places to go and to run and to walk, to bicycle and to paddle a kayak," said Foster.

Recreation is his goal and the Mississippi resources will help bring that goal to fruition. For more information on the Mississippi Coastal Heritage Trail Partnership click HERE.

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