GRENADA, MS (Mississippi News Now) –
Walt Grayson is back with a story about some folks who are standing Mississippi Strong over a nature area they love and also a city that is more than willing to listen to their better idea.
Well, the city is Grenada and the group with the better idea is the Friends of the ChakChiuma Swamp Natural Area.
Robin Whitfield sets all of this up for us.
Whitfield is an artist in Grenada and the swamp on the north edge of town is one of her inspirations. She’s their painting all the time, but one day recently as she was walking in to set up she noticed something she hadn’t seen before.
“So I got my backpack and as I was walking, I saw all of these pink ribbons that said Timber Harvest tied all on the outside of the forest and even on the inside,” explained Whitfield.
The city of Grenada owns the land and needed to raise some general funds and decided to sell off some trees for timber. To say the prospect of these trees being cut down was shock would be an understatement.
That swamp is part of the reason Robin decided to stay in Grenada after graduating college and coming here on one of her first jobs to paint murals for the school system.
“I came here 20 years ago to pain murals for the school system,” said Whitfield. “Then I found this wonderful building near this wonderful swamp and ended up calling this home ever since.”
Not only Robin, but a lot of people love the swamp right beside their downtown, so she and the Friends of the Swamp group came up with another idea.
Instead of selling the trees for timber, why not have donors buy a tree. The city still gets the money and the tree stays where it is, and to boot, the folks at Wildlife Mississippi think the area would be perfect for developing into a nature trail setting with some of the trails elevated much like the ones at Sky Lake near Belzoni.
“It’s going to be four miles of trails in fact,” said Whitfield.
It’s not a done deal yet, but Grenada did take the tract of land out of the timber bid to give the Robin and the Friends group enough time to crystallize their plan.
“Our question is what is that tree’s value to the forest,” added Whitfield. “So we think the tree’s value to the forest is greater than the money value is to our city.
And when the city can STILL get the monetary value of the trees and we get to keep the swamp, sounds like a win-win.
The timber value of the trees marked for the sale is about $50 to $75 each.
You can go to the Friends of ChakChiuma Swamp Natural Area’s Facebook page for more information.
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