Walt's Look Around: The REZ 50th anniversary - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: The REZ 50th anniversary

Barnett Reservoir, Source: WLBT Barnett Reservoir, Source: WLBT
ROSS BARNETT RESERVOIR, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Rez is a sometimes sunny, sometimes brooding, always fascinating lake in Jackson's back yard. It has been in the background of life in central Mississippi for many decades. Just how many decades hits a round number this year.

“This year, actually in January, was the 50th anniversary of when the lake was first filled to pool elevation," said Reservoir Manager John Sigman. "January 15 of '65.”

Although most people may think of it as a place to go boating or skiing, the Reservoir was created for a more practical purpose. 

“The original purpose was water supply for the city of Jackson," added Sigman. "Back in the 50's there was some really low flow times when Jackson almost ran out of water.”

Since that time not only has Jackson not run out of water, it has also not run out of a place to run off to and play. John Sigman and Bobby Cleveland took me up river from the big lake for an adventure. 

Lots of people flock upriver on the weekends and holidays especially and camp on the sandbars and fish and just hangout. There is a lot to see up here.

“Around every bend there is always something to see. We've seen alligators and birds all over the place today,” said Bobby Cleveland.

Matter of fact, the biggest alligator we spotted was about a 10 foot'er, and it was directly across the river from the popular camping spot, Flag Island. But I've been told there has never been an alligator attack on a human in Mississippi. But let's don't tempt fate.

About as far as you can go upriver before you have to pull the boat out and re-launch on the other side of it, is the Low Head Dam in Leake County. We didn't do that. We came back home and saw stuff on the way back that we missed on the way up.

“It's good for your soul to come out here and make a river run every once in a while just to see it,” said Cleveland.

For 50 years now people have been able to do just that at the Rez; and fish and ski and just hang out. It is hard to imagine what life would have been like over the last half century without it.

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