Clarke Reed
The Sky Lake Boardwalk

When our ancestors first arrived in the Lower Mississippi River Valley they were awestruck by the giant cypress that had thrived here for centuries. As they cleared the fertile land, no one in the entire Valley thought to preserve a stand, or even one, of these spectacular trees. They are all gone…or so we thought! Providence and a remote swamp spared the site that contains “some of the largest and oldest baldcypress trees that remain on earth,” according to Dr. David Stahle, Director of the Tree Ring Laboratory at the University of Arkansas.

Sky Lake Wildlife Management Area is located approximately 8 miles north of Belzoni. With our encouragement, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks acquired the 773-acre site that will soon be enlarged to approximately 4,000 acres.

It is imperative that we protect these trees of national and international significance, and provide access for scientists, writers, photographers, wildlife enthusiasts and a host of the rest of us. Consultants tell us to expect thousands of visitors annually.

We need to raise $150,000 as the required matching funds in order to meet the match requirement for a $521,000 grant we have recently been awarded from the Mississippi Recreational Trails Program. This grant and your funds, which will total $671,000, will enable us to construct an elevated walkway above the water to provide year-round access to the ancient cypress of Sky Lake.

We are soliciting individuals and/or corporations for a monetary or lumber commitment. We want to involve those of you who have the vision and recognize the value of this project. It excites people just to learn that these magnificent trees exist.

We hope you will make a tax deductible donation to Wildlife Mississippi for the Sky Lake Boardwalk Project. Without your generous contribution, this boardwalk will not be possible. Your grandchildren and all our progeny will forever appreciate what you have done.

Our matching grant is time sensitive. If you want to consider participating, please let us hear from you soon. The relatively modest cost of the project is small considering the rewards for decades to come.

Members of Wildlife Mississippi have earned a reputation of caring and contributing to causes such as Sky Lake for which we are all grateful.

Marsha Barbour in front of the largest of the baldcypress at Sky Lake.
Photo by Wild Exposures - Michael Kelly.

Sky Lake Boardwalk Donors (as of March 24, 2008)
$100 and Below
Paul Meng
Wm. H. Bizzell
In Memory of Carol Lamb Brent
Leila Wynn
James Cummins & Martha Dalrymple
Dr. B. C. Musial
Robert Dunlap
Thomas Goldsby
Canine Country Club
Dudley Hughes
Mississippi Coal Corporation
Gene Lewis Foundation
Planters Bank & Trust
Carolyn & Richard McRae, Jr.
Molpus Woodlands Group
John Palmer
Clarke & Judy Reed
Self Foundation