DEER ISLAND, MS (WLOX) - Construction will begin this summer on a 170-foot pier on the north side of Deer Island. The project, aimed at expanding public access to the island, just received final approval from the U.S. Corps of Engineers.
"All Mississippians should have access to our public islands, regardless if they have a boat," Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said Monday. "With Deer Island located less than a mile from the Gulf Coast, this was the ideal opportunity to promote eco-tourism on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Our goal is to have visitors stay 'one more day.' Hopefully, this new access pier to Deer Island will give tourists incentive to do just that."
As part of the access project, charter services will shuttle people to and from Deer Island. Restroom facilities and food vendors will also be established by mobile barge, so the amenities can be moved easily in the event of a storm.
Secretary Hosemann said the "low-impact tourism" would allow more people access to the island, while maintaining the pristine nature of the environment.
"Deer Island is one of the State's resources that make the Coast unique," says Jamie Miller, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. "We want residents and tourists to have access to this island, so they can enjoy the walking trails and wildlife opportunities it offers. This pier will make the island and its many resources accessible to everyone."
The island and surrounding waters will be patrolled by the Department of Marine Resources.
The total cost of the pier is approximately $360,000, which will be paid by Tidelands Funds. Tidelands funds are generated by coast tidelands leases and assessments and are allocated by the Coast Delegation of the Mississippi Legislature.