MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2015 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Clarke

Senate Resolution 8

A RESOLUTION TO RECOGNIZE AND SUPPORT THE MISSION OF THE NEW MISSISSIPPI WILDLIFE HERITAGE MUSEUM IN LELAND, MISSISSIPPI, AND URGE SPORTSMEN TO JOIN IN THE ENJOYMENT THAT THIS STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITY WILL BRING TO OUR CITIZENS.

WHEREAS, the mission of the Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Museum is to preserve the history, heritage and tradition of hunting and fishing in Mississippi and to honor the people who have been part of it. The center will also educate the public on the vast natural resources in the Great State of Mississippi; and

WHEREAS, the Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Museum in downtown Leland will be the only one of its kind in the state, a collection of wildlife and outdoor gear and memorabilia all the way back to the early pioneers; indeed, the Indians of the Hardaway-Dalton-San Patrice era, who followed the old Ohio River as it meandered through what is now the Mississippi Delta 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. This unique exhibition aims to display hunting and fishing paraphernalia and accouchements from all eras and areas of the Magnolia State in an ever-expanding museum that will appeal to sportsmen and outdoorsmen (and women!) all over the world; and

WHEREAS, the Heritage Center will also feature a Mississippi Outdoors Hall of Fame to honor and recognize the men and women with ties to Mississippi who have led the way for hunting, fishing, outdoor industries and innovations, beginning with Holt Collier, the famous former slave who roped the bear for President Teddy Roosevelt to shoot, who then refused to do so, creating the Teddy Bear legend and industry. The first class inducted also included former Department of Wildlife leaders Fannye Cook and Billy Joe Cross, also of Ducks Unlimited Fame, as well as Eddie Slater, who developed techniques and products for fresh-water fishing, along with Bass-Fishing Champion Paul Elias, plus Turkey Hunter extraordinaire Preston Pittman; and

WHEREAS, Mississippi is the Number One State east of the Mississippi River in the percentage of population that hunts, fishes and engages in outdoor nature-oriented recreation. Over 80% of Magnolia State people approach the fields, woods, lakes, rivers and Gulf Coast waters of this state for food, fun, education and pleasure as a major part of their lives, and the Wildlife Heritage Museum in Leland will commemorate that joy for decades to come; and

WHEREAS, Leland is strategically located at two primary state thoroughfares, Highway 61 and Highway 82, with a new bypass to come. Leland is also situated in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, one of the state's premiere locations for outdoor sports and wildlife heritage. Last year, Washington County was named one of the top 100 places in the country for outdoor pursuits. Additionally, the state's top wildlife conservation organizations are located in Leland's back yard: Delta Wildlife and Wildlife Mississippi; and

WHEREAS, efforts completed to date by the Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Museum include:

Organized a board of directors;

Announced plans for the museum to generate donations. Have received numerous artifacts for the museum as well as many small private donations;

Secured a historic building in downtown Leland to house the museum;

Established the Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Foundation 501(c)3. Ownership of the building is under this entity;

Secured support from the City of Leland: $10,000.00 per year for next five years;

Secured support from state's wildlife organizations: Wildlife Mississippi and Delta Wildlife;

Secured support from the Mississippi Legislature with funds of $347,000.00 under leadership of Senator Buck Clarke;

Held initial meeting with Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks leadership to build partnership and will continue to communicate and work with them as needed;

Visited/met with other state wildlife museums to learn best practices; and

WHEREAS, it is with great pride that we anticipate the opening of this innovative museum facility:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do recognize and support the mission of the new Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Museum in Leland, Mississippi, and urge sportsmen to join in the enjoyment that this state-of-the-art facility will bring to our citizens.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Museum, forwarded to the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks for proper distribution to the state, and made available to the Capitol Press Corps.