City of Gautier receives ‘Small Project of the Year’ award for Shephard State Park

Today, the City of Gautier received the Small Project of the Year award for its work on the marshwalk pier at Shepard State Park.

Since 2019, the city has been working on a 1,005-foot eco-friendly walkway through the secluded 400-acre state park.

Using Tidelands Funds from the state legislature and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, visitors can now get a closer look at the marsh habitat, birds, and other wildlife.

The marshwalk is the first public pier in Mississippi to be constructed using composite ‘thruflow’ deck, allowing 43 percent of light to shine through to minimize impacts on the submerged aquatic vegetation. Gautier Mayor Casey Vaughan said, “Gautier is Nature’s playground and it highlights a lot of the nature amenities that we have here. Shephard State Park is– I feel– it’s the hidden jewel in our city and it’s under promoted. And this will help benefit– we’re going to have added amenities to this marshwalk like a kayak launch and also some fishing stages where you can fish with cleaning stations. So, if you’re not able to get out on a boat or whatever, you’ll be able to come to Shephard State Park and enjoy those amenities here in our city that you might not be able to enjoy anywhere else.”

The pier is also built to withstand uplift due to rising waters, making it more resistant to storm damage.

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