GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - They are connecting the Coast, one trail at a time. A group called the Heritage Trails Partnership of the Mississippi Gulf Coast is working to create a series of bicycle and kayak trails.
The group's latest project involves the City of Gulfport creating opportunities for kayaking, bicycling and walking.
The Heritage Trails Partnership of the Mississippi Gulf Coast is working to promote a network of greenways (trails on land) and blueways (trails on water).
"We see real opportunity to connect the Coast from border to border with trails, and connecting people on those trails as well," said Geneva Dummer, administrator for Heritage Trails Partnership.
The initial Gulfport project includes a greenway anchored at the Herbert Wilson Recreation Center; a six mile bicycle loop near that facility.
The blueway portion involves creating a kayak and canoe trail on Gulfport Lake that would also extend into other area waterways.
"The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain is actually working on a blueway in Turkey Creek, so all of these things will be connected. You could feasibly get on the water in Ocean Springs, or even further to the east, and end up further to the west than you ever imagined," said Dummer.
"The community will be far healthier for this. So few places that you can walk and ride and do all the things that are actually safe anymore. This place is actually safe, but we just don't have the trails. We don't have them connected," said Dr. Robert Travnicek, a board member with the Heritage Trails Partnership.
Supporters of the greenways and blueways project say it could help boost eco-tourism in the City of Gulfport, as more and more visitors are looking for places that feature an abundance of outdoor and recreational opportunities.
"Really, the goal is to make this place a better place to live. You do that by connecting all these trails. Having safe places for people to walk, safe places for people to bike, safe places for people to canoe," said Travnicek.