GRENADA, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
Swamps are everywhere in Mississippi, and yet most of us have never been exploring in one or even know of an accessible area to go to if we wanted to. But if you have the desire to kayak a swamp, then try this one almost in downtown Grenada.
It was kind of a wasteland for a while, just cypress trees and water moccasins. Not that they aren't still there, but people come here now, too.
Robin Whitfield is a Grenada artist and discovered this area about 15 years ago. And from day one, it has always stayed a fresh adventure to her every time she visits.
"This is city property, and the city owns about 200 acres on this side of Main street between this and our rail road track," said Whitfield. "So its kind of a small little closed in area and that's the area we call the Chakchiuma Swamp. This does back all the way up to the Yalobusha River which backs up to Grenada Lake and all that property. The river itself which this is backwaters for, goes all the way to Greenwood. There's a big green corridor all the way there with Malmaison Wildlife Management Area right there in between. So in a sense the habitat is very large and is part of a big system."
Alison Ashmore is a Grenada teacher, and has taken her high school students canoeing in the swamp.
"A lot of these students do not know that this area is here right where they're living so they can take advantage of it," said Ashmore. "So that was an education for my high school students; them actually being in the canoe and being aware of this area here."
With the success of the Harry Potter series, I naturally, wondered where I could set MY mythical stories about a magic kingdom and make my millions. We don't have the highlands of the British Isles in Mississippi. But we got swamps.
"Every time I come here, I feel like I see something new that I did not see before, whether it's a new species of bird or a plant," said Whitfield. "When I first started coming here it was just all just mystical, magical things and everything was new. But I'm still finding that it never disappoints and I still get out my field guides every time I come and get excited almost in the same way as I always have. So that's pretty good."
Even better than a magical kingdom of make believe because the swamps are REAL. And no telling what you could find in there, or what might find YOU in there!