Sky Lake, near the town of Belzoni in Humphreys County, Mississippi, is a spectacular natural resource. A natural oxbow lake, it attracts thousands of migratory and nesting birds including herons, egrets, storks, spoonbills, shorebirds, and waterfowl. The old-growth cypress-tupelo swamp surrounding the lake contains some of the largest trees in the world, many of them more than 1000 years old. Although much of the lake is protected by the Sky Lake WMA, which includes a boardwalk to view the ancient trees in the swamp, there has been no easy way for the public to view the lake itself and experience its incredible biodiversity.
Delta Wind Birds recently acquired, with a grant from the US Fish & Wildlife Service and assistance from Ducks Unlimited, a 14-acre parcel on the west shore of Sky Lake, which is open to the public as the DWB Sky Lake Nature Reserve. The Reserve is intended to serve as a focal point for environmental education and nature appreciation. To realize this vision, the Reserve needs a boardwalk and observation platform. Currently, the lake can be viewed from the property, but the view is largely obstructed by the forested edge of the lake.
The proposed boardwalk would extend 150 feet from near the road, through a gap in the trees, and just out into the lake, providing an unobstructed view of the lake and its birds and wildlife. The estimated total cost of the project, which will utilize floating, modular, low-maintenance, long-lasting LDPE materials, is $150,000. We are applying for a grant from the Recreational Trails Program, but it would provide a maximum of $120,000, and requires $30,000 in matching funds. Thus, we are first seeking to raise the $30,000 in matching funds. If we do not receive the RTP grant in 2021, we will attempt to raise the entire amount for the project.
This new boardwalk and observation platform at the DWB Sky Lake Nature Reserve will significantly enhance the community of Belzoni and surrounding areas, providing a novel opportunity for outdoor recreation and environmental education, while stimulating the local economy by attracting visitors to the area. Please help us realize this vision!
Delta Wind Birds is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations to Delta Wind Birds are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. If you prefer to donate by mailing a check, or to give to Delta Wind Birds directly (rather than through GoFundMe), please visit our website here: https://deltawindbirds.org/donation/