Refuge’s newest feature receives national honor

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 17, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; The Magnolia Trail is open, and more than 20 people got a chance to enjoy it Saturday morning.

The trail, the product of more than three years of work, is the latest attraction at St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge. The three miles of trail run from the ridges on the east side of the refuge down past a pond and through part of the park’s many acres of forest.

With finishing touches applied, the trail was officially opened Saturday as part of National Trails Day, an event held to encourage people to hike wilderness trails. The refuge staff invited people to come hike the trail, and more than a few showed up for the event.

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Even with the warm and humid weather, refuge manager Randy Breland said he was pleased with the turnout.

&8220;We’ve had a good crowd out today,&8221; Breland said.

Breland and his staff set up a tent at the entrance to the trail to talk to hikers and offer them water.

Refuge office manager Charman Cupit said she received a number of calls from people who want to hike the trail but could not make it Saturday.

Breland said he was notified Friday the trail had received recognition as a national trail by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an honor accorded to trails of local and national significance.

&8220;It’s official as of yesterday &045; we have a national trail,&8221; Breland said. &8220;There are 37 trails that got that recognition.&8221;

One of the people checking out the new trail was Tommy Milligan, who brought his daughters.

&8220;It’s a great trail, well-lined out,&8221; Milligan said.

&8220;The girls had a blast. It was kind of warm, but other than that it was a great way to spend a Saturday morning.&8221;

The girls with Milligan were McKenzie Milligan and MacKenzie Watts, clearly a bit tired from the walk but otherwise happy, Tommy Milligan said.