SKY LAKE WILDLIFE BOARDWALK
Wildlife Mississippi works to ensure that Mississippians can experience their state’s
rich natural history and diversity of wildlife. We have dedicated significant resources
and time to seeing that one special place - the Sky Lake Wildlife Management Area
(WMA) and Boardwalk near Belzoni - can be visited and enjoyed by all. The 3,500-acre
Sky Lake area has some of the largest and oldest bald cypress trees on Earth, with
some perhaps more than 1,000 years old. A 1,735-foot boardwalk takes visitors through
the ancient trees. The area also has an amphitheater, pavilion and comfort station.
A new office and education building is being constructed. Upon the completion of
the boardwalk in 2010, former Mississippi First Lady Marsha Barbour said: “The formally
hidden treasure of these ancient forest giants is now easily accessible, making
it possible for generations of Mississippians and tourists to appreciate and enjoy
their beauty and grandeur.” Recently, Wildlife Mississippi has led an effort to
establish paddling trails through the heart of the Sky Lake area. When water levels
are appropriate, canoers and kayakers can approach the site’s oldest cypress trees
through the new paddling trail.
Access: Open to the public during daylight hours (Users of the
Sky Lake boardwalk and headquarters area are exempt from having a state-issued Wildlife
Managerment Area user permit).
Directions: In Humphreys and Leflore counties near Belzoni. From
Belzoni, take Highway 7 north for about 8 miles, turn left on Four Mile Road for
3 miles to Permit Station, then go left onto Lake Road. Go about 0.25 miles to WMA
View Sky Lake website.
Read Wildlife Mississippi magazine story on
Wildlife Mississippi has invested significant resources in the conservation of the
habitat and wildlife of the Buttahatchie River corridor in northeastern Mississippi.
With the establishment of a wetland mitigation bank in cooperation with the Federal
Highway Administration and the Mississippi Department of Transportation, and through
our efforts, we have protected nearly 35 miles of river shoreline habitat in the
upper portion of the Buttahatchie. The river has a significant diversity of fish,
aquatic turtles and mussels. Six mussel species are listed as federally endangered
or threatened: the southern combshell, orange-nacre mucket, Alabama moccasinshell,
black clubshell, southern clubshell and ovate clubshell. About 20 other species
of fish, mussels, crayfish and turtles are listed by the state Natural Heritage
Program as critically imperiled or of special concern, including the Gulf Coast
strain of walleye.
Wildlife Mississippi seeks to protect the less-altered portions of the Buttahatchie
from habitat conversion. Numerous gravel mines along the river’s southern portion
have severely altered the river’s flow and seriously degraded habitat for many terrestrial
and aquatic species. Intensive harvesting of oak trees has also degraded habitat
in the river corridor, first to make ammo boxes for the U.S. military and then to
make furniture. Some portions of the corridor were clear cut and replanted with