On Tuesday, Bolivar County Engineer Bob Eley announced he had been contacted by the Federal Highway Administration about placing Indian Mound trail markers in various locations throughout the county.
"The Federal Highway Administration is going to create a Mounds Trail — like down in Winterville. These things apparently exist all up and down the Mississippi River and in places way up north like Ohio and down into Louisiana," said Eley.
"I really do not know a lot about the matter but I received a letter in the mail, announcing a meeting about the markers," he added.
The Mississippi Mound Trail is modeled after a similar driving tour in Louisiana, which has proven to be very successful.
The Mississippi tour will include up to 30 selected mounds, each visible from the road and marked with interpretive signage.
According to Eley, the Federal Highway Administration along with the Office of State Aid and Road Construction is coming to meet with him Feb. 22 to look at the mounds in Bolivar County.
"I am hoping that I will find out more about it during that time," Eley continued, adding although the trail seems like a good idea that could possibly promote tourism within the county, there are still some major issues that must be "ironed out."
"The Federal Highway Administration is asking the county to help them provide access to the mounds. As the county engineer, if there is anything required by the county I would be involved from that perspective," said Eley.
"I think that there are three or four mounds in Bolivar County and they are all on private property. People will not be able to go directly to the mounds unless private landowners give us permission to provide access to the mounds on their property," he continued.
Eley said that the markers would consist of a plaque that explains the significance of each mound and tourists will be able to visit each mound by using a map of the trail.
"The markers will be on the county right-of-away. The program is asking that the county aids in providing a parking area," he added.
Supervisor Preston Billings said he was excited about the trail because he said it would involve his district.
"When individuals come and take a tour of the mounds, please do not forget about the Indian Mound in Shelby," said Billings.
The Mississippi Mound Trail project is set to be a self-guided driving tour located along or near Highway 61, a major north-south transportation route along the western part of the state.
The purpose of this trail project is to raise awareness and enhance protection of the vast array of prehistoric Indian mounds and earthworks in Mississippi.
The project will encourage preservation, providing interpretation, fostering education, and promoting economic development along Mississippi’s roadways.
The Mississippi Mound Trail project builds on the work of a previous Transportation Enhancement grant completed in 1999, titled “Historical and Archaeological Inventory of Mississippi’s Great River Road,” the goal of which was to “create a resource for communities to use in developing their portion of the Great River Road, encouraging them to preserve their local history and perhaps derive economic benefits from their preservation efforts.”