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. . . Thank you . . .
Visit Date: 10/2/2009
The Delta National Forest, located in west-central Mississippi,
is comprised of 59,000 acres. It has no developed campgrounds but
there are 80 semi-developed designated dispersed campsites
The Delta National Forest (NF) is special and unusual among
national forests. By the 1980s, less than 20 percent of
Mississippi River's original forested wetlands remained and much
of that was in the Delta NF, a "green jewel" in the Yazoo River
Basin of the Lower Mississippi Valley (LMV). While much of the
LMV has been altered with drained swamps and levees built to
harness the mighty Mississippi River, the Delta NF protects the
LMV's delta ecosystem. Special areas, called Greentree
Reservoirs, have been established within the Delta NF to reduce
man's negative impact to waterfowl and other wildlife who make
the Delta their home. In these areas, man mimics nature's cycle
of flooding and receding waters. But there is a potential for
problems because of these actions.
Care must be taken with the man-made winter "deep" flooding
period. The abundance of water can affect the species of trees
growing in the forest. For example, Nuttail oak, a species
preferred by wildlife and needed for its timber, does not
tolerate prolonged flooding. When it dies the Overcup oak, a
more water-tolerant species, replaces the Nuttail oak. The
problem is the Overcup's acorn is too large for ducks to eat.
The lack of food means a reduction in the duck population. This
is only one example of the balancing act the Forest Service must
try to maintain to keep the Delta NF healthy and productive.
A healthy and productive Delta NF means robust populations of
wildlife, trees and other vegetation. Just as the Nuttail oak is
important to the ducks of the Delta NF, the Bald cypress trees
growing along the water ways are important to birds. The Bald
cypress, a relative of the Redwood, is important to the crane and
songbirds that visit the Delta NF on their annual migrations.
Come midsummer, human visitors to the Delta enjoy the amazing
sights of thousands of butterflies providing flashes of color
against lush green foliage (some visitors participate in an
annual butterfly count). About the same time, hundreds of song
birds fill the air with their melodies. The Forest provides
essential habitats for a diverse array of woodland birds.
Located in the Mississippi Flyway, the largest migration track in
North America, the Delta's forested wetlands offer migrating
waterfowls a place to rest and enjoy the land's bounty. Sharing
the habitat with the waterfowl, are many neotropical migratory
bird species, such as Summer Tanagers and Prothonotary Warblers.
Little wonder the Delta is a popular location for bird watchers.
All this wildlife is attractive and made welcome by the Delta
NF's diverse and supportive habitat.
Legend has it, in 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt was in the
area (reportedly somewhere near Little Sunflower Recreation Area)
hunting bears when the idea of the teddy bear toy was created.
Although bears once roamed throughout the state, the black bear
population is estimated to be about 75 animals, so sightings in
the Delta are rare. To celebrate Roosevelt's 1902 Bear Hunt
there is an annual Great Delta Bear Affair in Rolling Fork, MS
In many ways, the Delta NF with its 60,000 contiguous acres of
bottomland hardwoods and forested wetlands, is one huge
campground. Eighty semi-developed designated dispersed campsites
are scattered throughout the Delta NF. Each campsite has a
cleared and level area where campers can park their vehicle and
pitch a tent. They also have a picnic table, fire ring and
lantern pole. Potable (drinking) water, however, is available
only at the Forest's work center on Forest Rt. 703 near Site #19.
The only vault toilets in the Forest are at Blue Lake and Little
Sunflower recreation areas and at a few trailheads.
A map showing each of the 80 campsites' location and number is
available at the ranger district office in Rolling Fork, MS.
While GPS coordinates are not yet available for all 80 campsites,
the following page displays eight of the campsites the authors
Two points should be stated. While hiking is possible, the
Delta's trail system is designed more for ATV enthusiasts
(Contact the ranger district office for trail information,
conditions, and restrictions.) Although the Delta NF has lots of
water, it is basically a swamp so boating is limited to the style
best suited for a relaxing day of fishing.
In the Forest Service, only the Delta National Forest has a
bottomland hardwood ecosystem but there is more then this one
feature that makes this lush stretch of green in the Lower
Mississippi Valley unique. If you are up to a semi-developed
dispersed type of camping experience, you will realize all that
make the Delta National Forest one of a kind.
CAMPGROUND LOOKUP TABLE
||N32 56.183,W090 42.892
||Dowling Bayou and McCann
||N32 55.271,W090 42.390
||Joe Blout and Cypress Lake
||N32 54.801,W090 42.410
||Joe Blout and Cypress Lake
||N32 52.162,W090 45.570
||String of Lakes and Basket
||N32 51.074,W090 45.663
||Big Sunflower River trailhead
||N32 48.631,W090 47.255
||Work Center with potable
water is nearby
||N32 44.661,W090 48.577
||Barge Lake Kay Cypress
||N32 49.285,W090 48.540
||Blue Lake Recreation Area
with nature trail, boat ramp
and vault toilet. No travel
trailers; detach towable
from RV before entering -
maximum length 28 ft.
Click on a Site# for picture.
1. The table represents a sample of the 80
semi-developed designated dispersed
2. All campsites displayed in the table are
combined (tent or RV)
3. Elevation for the campsites in the table is 100 ft.
4. Trailheads are nearby.
(Return to Top)
200 S. Lamar St
Jackson, Mississippi 39201
RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESS
68 Frontage Road
Rolling Fork, Mississippi 39159