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The newly established Pinebelt Blueway officially opened today for public use from dawn until dusk. The Pinebelt Blueway, a 10.8 mile route, begins in Jones County at the Eastabuchie boat ramp on Church Road and flows south, ending at the Highway 11 bridge in Hattiesburg and Forrest County. This phase one project was spearheaded by the Piney Woods Chapter of the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain.


“The Piney Woods Chapter of the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain works to preserve and promote our area’s natural resources. The Leaf River watershed is an underutilized natural amenity. We hope the completion and promotion of this first phase of a blueway system encourages the respectful use of these water resources and attracts individuals and families to this new community asset,” Russ Bryan, Piney Woods Land Trust, said.


Both area residents as well as tourists enjoy spending time in Hattiesburg’s great outdoors on its already existing state parks, trails and waterways. As Mississippi’s third most visited city, the Longleaf Trace and Paul B. Johnson State Park are among Hattiesburg’s most popular outdoor offerings.


“Hattiesburg is growing in popularity as a leisure destination, and our mild climate provides the perfect backdrop for fun and adventure on our trails and waterways. We are thankful for the Land Trust’s vision and dedication to develop this new attraction. We will certainly be promoting it to our many visitors,” Marlo Dorsey, executive director of VisitHATTIESBURG, said.


Several signs and mile markers exist along this newly established blueway to keep visitors on course and educate them about the natural habitats and wildlife along the route. While the Pinebelt Blueway is free for public use, adventurers must provide their own floating equipment. More information about the Blueway can be found on VisitHBURG.org/things-to-do/.