Grand Bay Reserve

Quick Facts

Grand Bay Reserve

Mississippi

(228) 475-7047

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The Grand Bay Reserve is one of the most biologically productive estuarine ecosystems in the northern Gulf of Mexico and includes part of the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Located between Pascagoula, MS and the Alabama state line, the Reserve's habitats support rare and endangered plant and animal species, important marine fisheries and archeological sites. The 18,400 acre Reserve encompasses black needle rush marshes, maritime pine forests, pine savanna, salt pannes, and pitcher plant bogs. Sea turtles, bottlenose dolphin and manatees can be found in the deeper waters of the reserve. Many species of carnivorous plants and orchids are present in the higher savanna habitats. Its productive oyster reefs and seagrass beds serve as nursery areas for important marine species, such as shrimp, blue crab, speckled trout and red fish. The Nature Conservancy has dedicated the area as one of its Last Great Places in America.

The reserve is of major ecological significance because of its diverse range of habitats. It encompasses coastal bay, expansive saltwater marshes, maritime pine forest, pine savanna and pitcher plant bogs. It supports extensive and productive oyster reefs and seagrass habitats. It serves as nursery area for many of the Gulf of Mexico's important recreational and commercial marine species, such as shrimp, blue crab, speckled trout, red fish. The area is used for recreational and commercial fishing, birding and aesthetic enjoyment.

Map of Grand Bay Reserve

Latitude, Longitude: 30.441570, -88.350678

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Activities

  • Boating

    The waters of the reserve offer interesting and exciting adventures to paddlers. Either in canoes or a kayaks, paddlers can explore the generally flat waters with a minimum of experience or effort, unless the wind is kicking up. The only places to access high ground when paddling are either maritime forests or American Indian middens. The middens are protected, heritage sites and should be respected at all times. Always pack out what you pack in. Camping is not allowed in the refuge, so make sure you plan your trip to get back before dark.

  • Fishing

    A free public boat launch and a handicapped-accessible fishing pier are located at the end of Bayou Heron Road on Bayou Heron on the east side of the reserve. The pier is suitable for fishing and crabbing. The waters of the reserve are extremely shallow, especially at low tide; so, only boats that draft a minimal amount of water should attempt to navigate outside of Bayou Heron. Point O'Pines fish camp, which is located on the west side of the reserve on Bayou Cumbest, also maintains a small boat launch but charges a small fee to launch.

    Oyster Tonging is allowed in the reserve only during highly-regulated seasons that fall traditionally in late fall through early spring. The collection of oysters requires a recreational or commercial oyster license.

  • Hiking

    The Oak Grove Birding Trail in the reserve is Stop 8 on the recently established Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail. The site is a maritime, mixed hardwood forest (oaks and sweetgums) that slopes down towards the marshes that border the upper reaches of Bayou Heron. Birding along this trail is most enjoyable and successful during the periods of spring and fall migration. Migrants such as Yellow Warblers, Redstarts and Scarlet Tanagers are some of the most common birds found here in the spring. Portions of the trail can be a bit soggy, so be sure and wear the appropriate footwear. Don't forget your bug spray!

  • Hunting

    Only bow-hunting for deer and duck and squirrel hunting with shotguns are allowed by permit along with the appropriate Mississippi Hunting License during designated hunting seasons in the National Wildlife Refuge portion of the reserve. Hunting within the Grand Bay Savanna Coastal Preserve portion of the reserve is allowed with the appropriate Mississippi Hunting License during the appropriate hunting seasons.

Seasonality/Weather

Birding along this trail is most enjoyable and successful during the periods of spring and fall migration. Migrants such as Yellow Warblers, Redstarts and Scarlet Tanagers are some of the most common birds found here in the spring. During the winter months, many overwintering shorebirds, waterfowl and other birds such as White Pelicans, Common Loons, Mottled Ducks and Peregrine Falcons utilize the waterways, exposed mudflats and adjacent marshes of the reserve. Although you must have a boat to observe most of these birds, a winter birding experience is worth the extra effort.

Directions

Driving

Take Exit 75 off of I-10 and turn south on Franklin Creek Road. Go south to Hwy 90 and cross onto Pecan Road. Cross over the railroad tracks and continue down Bayou Heron Road for approximately 1 mile. The NERR office is on the right side.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(228) 475-7047

Links