In the center of this almost 400 acres of former tree farm stretches a well-laid-out, slightly scruffy rambling disc golf course, said to be fun for the entire family. Left past the log cabin entrance to the park ($2 per vehicle), where you buy your discs, is the first hole or tree of the course. Carved from hordes of pines and sawgrass are fairways with mighty steel baskets hanging from the sturdiest of lofty pines instead of little hole on a green. Well, not always - sometimes the baskets are mounted a steel pole. My understanding is the Frisbee-like disc of wood is to be thrown into the baskets. Of course, the lowest score for the number of throws is the winner. Never underestimate Southern ingenuity or hospitality.
Easing past the disc-golf range to the left was the group camp area nearby to marshy Lamotte Bayou. Atop a knoll overlooking the swamp was a dense pack of live oaks sheltering a cluster of picnic tables. A great place for a snack and respite amid the humming skitters (mosquitoes). Do not forget your insect repellant! Nearby several hiking trails of the 5 miles available disappear on the top of small levees among the bushy cattails.
Established in 1976 as a gift from native Mississippian, Horace A. Shepard, the park is a quiet escape with the spacious picnic pavilions for rent and a perky rangerette who pointed out the nature trail to the right of the visitor center and furnished a map to all the flora. However, we did find the footing a little mushy, damp, and overgrown from all the recent rain, while roads leading to the boat ramp had partially washed away.
Despite its slightly untrimmed and neglected appearance, I liked this haven of shady evergreen forest peopled with local wildlife. This is a land of legends - the Biloxi and Pascagoula Indians roamed these extended banks of the "Singing River" (Pascagoula River today). In the yarns of history, the tribes often did battle, and the Pascagoula tribe walked into the river singing and holding hands instead of being defeated. Just maybe, the primitive wilderness camping ($5) might give a clue to lifestyles once played out here.
Shrouded in loblolly pines at the gate, the tidy visitor center with gift shop, park office, and restrooms is open from 8am-5pm daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. Of the 28 RV camping sites ($13), only four can be reserved, and then first come, first served.
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July 28, 2008
November 12, 2003
From journal Hidden Corners of the Mississippi Coast,