A group of hikers hit the trail Wednesday, and slowly wandered through towering pines and saw grass to see a unique view of the Escatawpa river. But the trail is not deep inside the woods of Jackson County. Actually, its just a few hundred yards from the State Welcome center.
"We'll have an opening in 2003, some nature that travelers can stop and stretch their legs and enjoy and get out into nature and see the beautiful Escatawpa river," Robbie Fisher with the Nature Conservancy said.
"We have two trails; each one is a mile long," Nichole Anderson said. "They will be able to go through pine savanna, see picture plants and live oaks, and lots of saw pine meadows."
Organizers hope the trail will be used by some of the 600,000 people that visit the Jackson County Welcome Center each year, people like Barbara Seidl and her husband, who were each taking a lunch break after driving for three hours.
"We try to get out every few hours and stretch our legs and do a little exercise and move around," Alaska resident Barbara Seidl said.
The Seidl's say a hiking trail would make stopping at the welcome center more like a tourist attraction than just a bathroom break.
"This is my first time in Mississippi, so I have no idea what is beyond the highway," Seidl said.
"It's going to be a perfect example of what this area's natural beauty looks like, and I'm very excited because there is a good possibility of high usage," Anderson said.
Construction on the trail began in January and is expected to be completed in about a year. The trail is located on 136 aces of land donated by International Paper two years ago. The trail will cost around $250,000 to complete.
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