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Preserving the Pascagoula

By Donald G. Schueler

208pp., 11 b&w photographs

157806466X (9781578064663)
Paper $20.00T

Paper, $20.00

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A classic book about the environmental triumph that saved a southeast Mississippi wetland

Preserving the Pascagoula re-creates one of the more exciting sagas in the history of wilderness preservation--the ultimately successful fight to protect the vast, magnificent, little-known Pascagoula Swamp in southeastern Mississippi.

The Pascagoula, in terms of discharge volume, remains the largest undammed, unaltered river system in the continental United States. The story of how it was saved, with several heroes, no great villains, and a happy ending, will remind the environmental community that now and then the "good guys" do win.

More than the suspenseful retelling of this achievement, Preserving the Pascagoula details the unusual strategy whereby the fight was won. It serves as a blueprint of how a state government created from scratch one of the finest natural area programs in America today.

This is the story of the most effective nonprofit land acquisition group in the nation, The Nature Conservancy, and its innovative Natural Heritage Program that calls upon states to inventory and protect threatened ecosystems. It is also the story of Mississippi's response to the Heritage idea, a response that has served as a model for other states.

Finally, this is the account of a handful of dedicated people, ranging in their commitments from counterculture activism to staid conservatism. The unlikely alliance of these disparate groups suggests how much even a few individuals can accomplish against great odds, if they have the will and the nerve.

Preserving the Pascagoula could have been just one more account of a dramatic eleventh-hour confrontation between environmentalists and developers. More than that, it suggests many ways in which people who want to save our wilderness heritage can initiate action, instead of merely reacting to threats to the environment.

This new edition of Preserving the Pascagoula is published by the Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. Support and assistance for this effort has come from The Nature Conservancy of Mississippi, Audubon Mississippi, the Missis-sippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

Donald G. Schueler is the author of A Handmade Wilderness, Incident at Eagle Ranch: Predators as Prey in the American West, The Temple of the Jaguar: Travels in the Yucatan, and Adventuring along the Gulf of Mexico.

208pp., 11 b&w photographs