Paddling the Pascagoula

The Pascagoula River System in south Mississippi is a truly special place.  My long-term canoeing partner and co-author, Ernest Herndon and I set out to paddle its two major tributaries from the headwaters to the coast in 2004.  The following year Paddling the Pascagoula was published by University Press of Mississippi.

Science magazine describes the Pascagoula River of southeast Mississippi as the last unaltered large river system in the lower 48 states and southern Canada. Along its banks and watershed 600,000 acres of public lands–wildlife management areas, national forest, wilderness areas, national wildlife refuges, Nature Conservancy preserves–ensure the creation of a tremendous natural river system.

To explore this sanctum, authors Ernest Herndon and Scott B. Williams traveled its entire 200-plus mile length by canoe and sea kayak, respectively. Each floated one of two major tributaries, Herndon taking the Leaf, Williams the Chickasawhay. They then meton the main Pascagoula and continued on to the Gulf Coast. Along the way the two saw alligators and ospreys, conservationists and good ole boys. They ran rapids and explored swamps, dodged logjams and investigated possible pollution sources.

Herndon and Williams brought considerable skills and experience to their journey. Herndon has gone on backcountry trips to places as far-flung as Papua New Guinea and Alaska, while Williams paddled his sea kayak solo down the Mississippi and across the Caribbean. Together they’ve canoed and kayaked all over the South as well as
in remote parts of Central America. Both agree the Pascagoula basin is one of the most intriguing outdoor destinations they have experienced.

The book gives the armchair explorer a vivid feeling of what it would be like to float this wonderful river and provides a wealth of information about what makes it special and the problems that threaten it.

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, MS.  2005

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