Barnett Reservoir Spillway Recreation Area to become permit-only area

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RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – On Thursday, the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District (PRVWSD) Board of Directors voted to make the Spillway Recreation Area a permit-only park beginning December 1, 2021. Leaders said their goal is to curb the problem of litter and vandalism in the fishing area.

“We hate it has come to this, but we have to create some feeling of accountability among our users to end this problem,” said Reservoir Director John Sigman. “We’ve looked at it from every angle and have invited input from our users, but the litter situation has not improved, and this has to change. It’s not just an environmental problem but also a safety issue with so much litter on the rocks.”

Leaders said Barnett Reservoir will be creating a free daily registration system on both sides of the Pearl River below the dam, similar to the daily check-in stations used by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) at that agency’s system of Wildlife Management Areas. There will be no fee associated with the permit cards at the Spillway.

Daily users over the age of 16 will be required to obtain a permit form at one of the stations, and immediately fill out the registration card before recreating. Each card is expected to have three parts; one to be left in clear view on the dashboard of the vehicle, one to be placed in a box at one of the permit stations prior to recreating and a third, smaller tab to be carried by a user during his or her visit.

While the permit requirement will be a PRVWSD policy to start, the Board directed the staff to begin the process of making the system a regulation. After that 90-day process, it will become a law that carries a maximum of a $100 fine.

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