AMORY, Miss. — Wildlife Mississippi, a statewide, non-profit organization celebrating its 20th year of conserving Mississippi’s lands, waters and wildlife, joined local, state and federal officials May 19 to open the new Northeast Mississippi Nature Trail.

“We were thrilled to help design and develop this new trail that will play a vital role in improving the quality of life for residents of Northeast Mississippi and its visitors,” said James L. Cummins, Wildlife Mississippi’s Executive Director. “The trail highlights the region’s diverse natural and cultural history, and helps promote active and healthy lifestyles.” Physical activity helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, colon cancer, depression and stress.

Trails and other outdoor recreational amenities are also important for economic development, Cummins added. The availability of natural areas and other recreational amenities helps economic developers recruit younger workers who value outdoor experiences, he said.

Wildlife Mississippi has protected, restored or enhanced nearly 440,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the state since its establishment. It also encourages sustainable policies and legislation affecting fish and wildlife and their habitats; practices and promotes conservation education; and promotes nature-based outdoor recreation. The trail has three loops for walkers and runners; the longest loop is 1.5 miles. The trail was constructed with assistance from the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program, which is administered by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. Land for the trail was provided by the City of Amory and donor Martha Dalrymple. Wildlife Mississippi worked with the City of Amory to design and construct the trail.

The surface of the trail is dirt, Cummins said, because it is easier on the knees and joints of walkers and runners. No bicycles or motorized vehicles are allowed. The trail is wheelchair accessible, but it is harder to navigate when wet.

The trail leads people to diverse wildlife habitats such as wetlands, streams, forests and native grasslands. Interpretive signs highlight natural features and the cultural heritage of the region. Northeast Mississippi has more species of aquatic animals – turtles, fish, freshwater mussels and snails – than any other region of the state. Northeast Mississippi is also rich in cultural history. It was inhabited by Paleo-Indians and members of the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes; explorers such as Hernando de Soto traveled through the region; and Monroe County, the state’s first county, was named in 1821 in honor of President James Monroe.

To learn more, see Northeast Mississippi Nature Trail