Lake observation area already drawing crowds

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 1, 2000

BUDE — Southwest Mississippi residents interested in watchingthe construction of Lake Okhissa now have a designated observationarea that overlooks a large part of the 1,000-acre lake.

Although the observation area has not been officially completed,it has already become a popular spot, said Mary Bell Lunsford,Homochitto National Forest Public Affairs Officer.

“We’ve already had a lot of folks going down there,” she added.”Every time I’ve been over there, people have dropped by to look atthe construction.”

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The observation area, which includes a gazebo, walking trailsand adequate parking spaces, is located on Road #149, an unmarkedgravel road off Highway 98.

The gravel road is the closest road south of the Homochitto WorkCenter on Highway 98. Motorists should follow the road, taking allleft turns to get to the observation area. Signs to help directmotorists should be in place soon, said Lunsford.

The area has already attracted visitors from all overMississippi and some from Louisiana.

Prentice Thomas and his wife, Ethel, drove from Zachary, La.,Tuesday to view the project they had heard about two years ago whenplans were being made for the new lake.

“We’re looking forward to coming here when it opens,” saidThomas. “It’s going to be nice for this community.”

The couple decided to drop by the observation area whilevisiting with Thomas’ brother-in-law, James, who lives inCrosby.

This was the second trip to the observation area this week forJames Thomas, who thinks if the amount of people coming to theobservation area is any indication, Lake Okhissa will be a”tremendous boost to the economy.”

“My wife and I came up her Sunday for a picnic, and I counted atleast 150 people come by during the hour and a half we were here,”he said.

At this point in construction, the observation area is the onlyplace where progress can be seen.

“When we get finished, you’ll be able to see the lake from theroad,” said Ray Oliver, a civil engineer technician with NaturalResource Conservation Services.

The observation area will allow people to watch many areas ofconstruction, including the 93-feet-high dam, which may begin nextweek, added Oliver.

People will be able to use the area throughout the two-yearconstruction period, as well as during the estimated two years itwill take to fill the lake with rainfall.