Mississippi’s abundant water resources and mild climate provide residents and tourists with recreational opportunities throughout the year. Facilities for water sports include boating, swimming, and fishing in almost all the state-administered parks and recreation areas and in the recreation areas administered by the federal government.
The National Park Service administers seven units in Mississippi. Four of them, Tupelo National Battlefield, Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg National Cemetery, and Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site, are associated with the American Civil War (1861-1865) Vicksburg National Military Park commemorates the siege and defense of Vicksburg, one of the most decisive battles of the Civil War.
Today the battlefield at Vicksburg includes more than 1,300 monuments and markers, reconstructed trenches and earthworks, and cannon emplacements. The Vicksburg National Cemetery, established in 1866, contains more than 18,000 graves. The identities of those in nearly three-quarters of the graves are unknown. Soldiers from the Civil War, the Spanish-American War (1898), World War I (1914-1918), World War II (1939-1945), and the Korean War (1950-1953) are buried in the cemetery. Natchez Trace Parkway, most, but not all, of which lies in Mississippi, follows the route of a historic Native American and pioneer road. The Mississippi section of the Gulf Islands National Seashore contains Fort Massachusetts and several primitive offshore islands. The newest unit, Natchez National Historical Park, is centered among one of the country’s best-preserved concentrations of homes from the time before the Civil War, known as the antebellum period.
The six national forests in Mississippi cover 467,000 hectares (1,153,000 acres). The largest, De Soto National Forest, covers more than 200,000 hectares (500,000 acres) of dense pine forest in the southeast. The other forests are Bienville, Delta, Holly Springs, Homochitto, and Tombigbee. Most of them have camping, hunting, fishing, and boating facilities.
Mississippi had 27 state parks in the mid-1990s. The oldest and among the largest is Leroy Percy State Park, set in a bayou area along the Mississippi River. Another is Tishomingo, in the rolling hills and woodlands of northeastern Mississippi. Percy Quin, in southern Mississippi, has hiking trails through pine and oak forests. Tombigbee is in pine-forested countryside in the northeast. Clarkco, in the east, is noted for its plant and animal life. The Sam Dale State Historic Site, near Daleville, honors General Sam Dale, a frontiersman and hero of the War of 1812. The Nanih Waiya State Historic Site, in east-central Mississippi, features a mound considered by the Choctaw to be sacred. "Mississippi" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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