Lake Thoreau Center
The Department of Biological Sciences in concert with University and community partners is creating a center for environmental education and research that will:
The Lake Thoreau Center is located on what is known as the Lake Thoreau property, which was owned by Mason Leon Eubanks, a faculty member in English at Southern Miss for 22 years and where he, his friends and others, hiked, fished, and hunted over the years. In 2000, keepers of his estate donated approximately 131 acres of the land to the University Foundation with the intention that it would be used as a nature preserve for scientific, educational and esthetic purposes. The creation of the Lake Thoreau Center is entirely consistent with the intentions of Mr. Eubanks, our instructional, research and public outreach programs, and each of the University's Strategic Areas of Focus:
The Center will help us to meet the demand for scientific literacy, respond to the prospect that our children are increasingly alienated from the natural world, and provide an effective, healthy opportunity for outdoor recreation in line with the Governor's "Lets Go Walkin' Mississippi" program.
Located a few miles west of campus on West 4th Street adjacent to the Longleaf Trace "rails-to trails" path, the Lake Thoreau Center is convenient for our teaching, research and outreach missions, while literally thousands of school age youngsters are within easy driving distance. The Lake Thoreau Center consists of two preserves: the Eubanks Preserve on the original Eubanks property and the adjoining Longleaf Preserve, a 160 acre tract of University property characterized by longleaf pine habitat, which once dominated the southeastern US.
We are designing an environmental center to serve multiple functions, including experience based classrooms, research laboratories, and general meeting areas overlooking Lake Thoreau, and to be accessible by bike and hiking trails to the Longleaf Trace. It is easy to imagine University and community organizations hosting conferences and workshops at the facility, not to mention an occasional wedding or family reunion.
The Lake Thoreau Eubanks Preserve is open to Southern Miss faculty and staff on specified days and hours, otherwise by appointment.
Saturday and Sunday: 10 AM - 6 PM.
The Golden Eagle Trail Complex is open daily for biking, hiking, and running.
Fishing: Currently, fishing privileges are extended only to Southern Miss faculty and staff. Daily fishing slots are limited and must be reserved in advance. Southern Miss employees who would like to fish must notify the Biological Sciences office no later than 5 p.m. on the day before they wish to fish. Please click here to view fishing fees and regulations.
Biking, Hiking, and Running: The Golden Eagle Trail Complex (GETC) is now open daily from sunrise to sunset for bikers, hikers, and runners. The complex is a partnership between the R2W (Ride, Race, Work) Mountain Bike Club and our Department. The GETC has over 3.5 miles of well-maintained off-road trails that meander through beautiful upland longleaf pine and bottomland hardwood forest. These trails were constructed by volunteers and members of the R2W Mountain Bike Club. Anyone wishing to join R2W Mountain Bike Club can contact Matt Roland at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please click here to view trails use rules and regulations.
Directions to Lake Thoreau
- From campus: From Golden Eagle Drive, head west on Fourth Street for 5.6 miles. Turn right on Thoreau Road. Entrance is 0.88 miles on the right.
- From I-59: Head west 5.1 miles. Turn right on Gravel Pit Road by Lake Serene Grocery. As Gravel Pit Road dead ends, turn left on Fourth Street. Go 1.4 miles and turn right on Thoreau Road. Entrance is 0.88 miles on the right.
Directions to the Golden Eagle Trail Complex
- From campus: From Golden Eagle Drive, head west on Fourth Street for 4.3 miles. Turn right on Jackson Road. Park at Jackson Road Station. Bike west on Longleaf Trace for 0.84 miles. Entrance is along utility right of way on south side of the Trace.
- From I-59: Head west 5.1 miles. Turn right on Gravel Pit Road by Lake Serene Grocery. As Gravel Pit Road dead ends, turn left on Fourth Street. After 0.1 miles turn right on Jackson Road. Park at Jackson Road Station. Bike west on Longleaf Trace for 0.84 miles. Entrance is along utility right of way on south side of the Trace.
For more information, please contact the Department of Biological Sciences:
Professor and Interim Chair
Department of Biological Sciences
Director, Mississippi INBRE
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-5018