Eco-Tourism To Take Root In Ocean Springs - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/11/05

Eco-Tourism To Take Root In Ocean Springs

Ocean Springs could be home to South Mississippi's newest ecotourism attraction. The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain plans to buy and preserve a 30-acre piece of property known as Twelve Oaks for nearly $2 million. The land is located off of Hwy 90.

Land Trust representatives announced the organization's plans for the green space Monday morning.

Director Judy Steckler says once the purchase is complete the land will be preserved for everyone to enjoy.

"It offers a natural area where we can have low impact recreation, that is birding and hiking," said Steckler. "This 30 acres has just about every type of habitat there is on the Gulf Coast."

Master naturalist and Land Trust Board Member Leah Bray smells an opportunity to use the property as an outdoor classroom.

"We'll have some signage identifying some of the different plants and trees you see and some of the different habitat types," says Bray. "From an educational standpoint, this place is invaluable because it's got that wide variety of habitats and you don't often see that."

On Twelve Oaks, you'll find a swamp, tidal marsh and forest areas. All are home to dozens of birds and hundreds of different trees and plants.

In addition to being a teaching tool, Land Trust directors hope the property will become an economic tool.

"It will be put on the list of Gulf Coast Birding Trails. And as tourists come to Ocean Springs, this affords them another opportunity to enjoy the city and maybe stay here a little longer," says Steckler.

Before any of these plans can take root, The Land Trust must raise another $325,000 to buy the property. If you want to help out you can call Judy Steckler at 435-9191.

by Josh Ridgdell

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