Central Part Of State, Scott County. Closest Town: Forest. From The West, Take Interstate 20 To Exit 88. Take Eoute 35 Toward Forest, Turning Right On Fountain Road.
From The East, Take Exit 100 (U.S. 80) West Toward Lawrence. Go Eleven Miles To The Center Of The Town Of Forest And Turn Left (South) Onto Route 501 (Main Street). In About Half A Mile, You Will See A Sign For Bienville Work Center On The Left. Do Not Turn There. Soon You Will See Fountain Road On Your Right.
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The Entrance To The Forest Is Directly Across From This Road. You Can Park In The Lot Of The Brick Baptist Church. From The Parking Lot, Looking Across The Road Toward The Forest, You Will See A Pathway On The Left- Hand Side. There Are No Signs.
Where Are You Going In Mississippi?” Asked The Hiker, After I Told Him About My Plan To Visit An Old-Growth Forest In Each Of The Eastern States. When I Answered That Mississippi Was One State I Was Still Researching, He Offered To Help. He Said His Wife’S Great-Grandparents Were In The Logging Business In Southern Mississippi In The Early 1900s And They Still Had Contacts There.
Longleaf Pine Used To Be The Dominant Forest Type In The State It Covered About A Third Of The Land Area But There Are No Longer Any Old- Growth Longleaf Pine Forests Open To The Public In Mississippi. My Research Pointed Toward Bienville Pines As A Good Possibility For A Visit, And The Internet Turned Up This Intriguing Description:
The Scenic Area Contains 180 Acres And Is The Largest Known Block Of “Old-Growth” Pine Timber In Mississippi. Towering Loblolly And Shortleaf Pines, Many Over 200 Years Old, Continue To Dominate The Site The
Bienville Pines Trail Meanders Through This Area, Giving Hikers The Opportunity To Observe The Plants And Animals Native To Mature Pine Forests, Including The Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, An Endangered Species Which Nests Only In Living Pines. The Main Trail Is Two Miles Long (Shortcuts Available) And Is Complete With Interpretive Stops And Rest Areas.
When The Hiker E-Mailed Me, He Suggested Bienville Pines Also, Copying This Description That He Had Found:
While In The Forest Try To Visit The Bienville Pines Scenic Area. This 189- Acre Tract Is The Largest Known Block Of Old-Growth Timber In Mississippi. Old-Growth Forests Are A Rare And Special Thing In This Part Of America And Well Worth The Time Of A Visit. A Two-Mile Hiking Trail Meanders Past 125 To 200 Year Old Loblolly And Shortleaf Pines. Basically Left To Mother Nature, This Area Provides Visitors With A View Of How Nature Works To Maintain Itself.
The 1986 Management Plan For The Bienville National Forest States, “The Bienville Pines Is Truly A Unique Area. It Is The Largest Single Block Of Old-Growth Southern Pines Known To Exist In The United States.” I Was Looking Forward To My Visit.
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