Some of the names are a little funky — Haulover Bayou, Crooked and Chemise bayous, Lake Catch-em-all — but the local fishermen know them.
It’s a system of waterways that wind through the marsh of the lower Pascagoula River, between the west river in Gautier and the east river in Pascagoula. And last week, a group of four Moss Point neighbors who know the river, took up the task of posting signs to identify 23 of the winding waterways.
There was a time when the maze of bayous was considered a danger to boaters who might get lost. Even seasoned locals have gotten turned around in them. And you can’t just stand up in a skiff and see your way back through the maze to safety. With your head just above the marsh grass, the landscape looks the same for hundreds of yards.
Putting up signs is something that’s been done periodically for decades, whether it’s a Boy Scout eagle project or something the county did decades ago. But over the years, the signs weather, are broken or are stolen.
The value of this is that if someone gets lost, they can tell people where to come get them.
Dr. Thomas Singley, Moss Point
Dr. Thomas Singley said he realized it had been awhile. He found just one sign and it was old and about gone, he said.
He decided to rally the neighbors and post new signs.
“With all the ecotourism coming and people out on boats. It gets confusing with the double river we have, with all the marsh in between,” he said.
He applied for and received state permits, primarily from the Department of Marine Resources. Jackson County Supervisor Melton Harris helped him get county approval.
It took three months to get the permits. Then with some donations, he had the names of the bayous printed on 12- by 18-inch signs made of resin. He thanks Jack Hamaker with Auto-Credit.
The wooden poles were treated to protect from saltwater. Then he rallied neighbors Pat Russum, Larry Stringer and Thomas Robertson, with a pontoon boat, to haul signs and supplies to the river.
Robertson devised a 30-pound, metal pole-driver that fit over the sign posts and made it possible for one or two men to drive the posts into the marsh. The signs sit about four feet off the water, along the marsh grass.
They posted signs lasts week and as far north as Haulover Bayou.
“I like to ride around in the river,” Singley said. “I like people to know where they are in the river. The value of this is that if someone gets lost, they can tell people where to come get them.”