JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – The state of Mississippi not only has special people and special buildings, but it also special places, too.
The Pascagoula River isn’t nearly as long as the Mississippi by a long shot. The river only runs through a couple of counties, and empties into the Gulf in Pascagoula right at the shipyards.
But north about 50 or so miles, just south of Merrill, the river isn’t as wide. There is a railroad bridge closest to us and and old roadway bridge that isn’t used anymore just north of it, and just north of that is where the Leaf River and the Chickasawhay River merge to form the Pascagoula.
Years ago, Earnest Herndon and Travis Easley took the Leaf River and Scott Williams took the Chickasawhay River with the idea of going all the way to the Gulf. What struck them most on the journey was the isolation on the river. We caught up with Scott on Wednesday after last seeing him on Saturday when he put in at Dunns Falls, and ironically, we were the last people he had seen, too, half a week earlier.
He found an explorer’s treasure along the way. There were big limestone chunks on the side of the river at the foot of a bluff and a lot of fossilized sand dollars and seashells and other marine life just everywhere in the rocks there.
But that’s not what makes the Pascagoula River unique. It is the only river its size in the nation that is not, nor ever has been, leveed or dammed or impeded in any other way, allowing the geological types it flows through to benefit and survive as they always have, living off the river.
The clay buffs where the river forms, down through the places where the banks lower and move back away from the river to allow for seemingly endless cypress swamp to form, and then on southward where it all flattens out into brackish water as it mixes with the salt water of the Gulf around where Interstate 10 crosses it. Unusual because it is untouched. Plus, it used to sing, but that’s another story for another day.