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 headquarters.

View Sky Lake website.

Read Wildlife Mississippi magazine story on Sky Lake.


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 loblolly pines.