Park service initiates walking tours on Saturday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Want to learn the stories of the mighty Mississippi along its banks? Hear about the cultural influences on Natchez while strolling its streets?

The National Park Service this weekend is establishing a summer-long series of downtown walking tours, which will be free to the public.

The first tour on Saturday morning will focus on &uot;The Nile of the New World.&uot; The park service will also hold tours Sunday and Monday mornings before settling into a Saturday schedule that lasts until Labor Day.

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&uot;We’re very excited about it,&uot; said Jim Heaney, park ranger supervisor. &uot;It’s been a big initiative to broaden our program.&uot;

The park service has sponsored other walking tours in the past, including during the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration, but this is the first time NPS has scheduled a whole season of tours, Heaney said.

Each tour will be led by a ranger and will begin on the corner of Canal and Washington streets.

&uot;Each ranger did their own research,&uot; Heaney said. &uot;They went out and walked their beat to see how it would work.&uot;

Eventually, once work is completed on the William Johnson House downtown, the park service hopes to incorporate it into tours as well, Heaney said.

This weekend’s tours all begin at 10 a.m. Sunday’s will focus on &uot;Flags Over Natchez,&uot; and Monday’s topic is &uot;The Moneyed and the Middle Class.&uot;

For more information, call the National Park Service at 442-7047.