Deer Island ferry service draws mixed reactions - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Deer Island ferry service draws mixed reactions

There are mixed reviews about plans to open a passenger ferry boat service to nearby Deer Island. (Photo source: WLOX) There are mixed reviews about plans to open a passenger ferry boat service to nearby Deer Island. (Photo source: WLOX)
Mississippi Secretary of Stat Delbert Hosemann proposes building two new piers on the near shore island and establishing a ferry boat service to the island for visitors. (Photo source: WLOX) Mississippi Secretary of Stat Delbert Hosemann proposes building two new piers on the near shore island and establishing a ferry boat service to the island for visitors. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Deer Island may soon be attracting more visitors than ever. That's because Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann wants to create a passenger ferry boat service to the near shore island. But not everyone thinks that's a good idea.

It's easy to understand why Deer Island is such a popular getaway. After all, it's just a short boat ride or paddle from nearby Biloxi.

Fisherman Glen Davis enjoys what the island offers, but questions the need for a ferry.

"I'm not crazy about the ferry service out there," he said.

He believes there's already easy enough access to the island by private boat.

"I would say now, leave the island like it is. Let the people fly out there in their little boats and keep it like it is," said Davis.

The proposed ferry service is seen by supporters as a boost to tourism, another family-oriented attraction to market and keep visitors here a little longer.

Justin Roland sees the benefit.

"I think it would do really well, especially with some of the patrons of the casinos that have children. There's not a tremendous amount of things for them to actually do besides the water park. And I think with the baseball stadium, that would just be one more amenity that might be an option to drive people here," he said.

One of the downsides of the passenger ferry project involves bringing more visitors to that near shore island. More visitors on that coastal preserve equals more litter, for instance. It's a concern marine educator Dennis McGrury understands.

"The impact on the environment, definitely," he said.

He said if the island is made accessible to many more visitors, there must be precautions.

"I think they need to have some sort of law enforcement out there policing the area and be able to enforce, don't leave your trash," said McGrury.

The two new piers on Deer Island will likely go up later this year. There's no word yet on when the ferry boat service may begin.    

The State of Mississippi owns the majority of Deer Island.  Private land owners still hold a small section of the island.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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