/‘Teddy Bear’ story to be showcased at new visitor center

‘Teddy Bear’ story to be showcased at new visitor center

The center will feature the Mississippi story of President Theodore Roosevelt refusing to shoot and kill a black bear that was captured by Holt Collier in 1902. This inspired the creation and widespread reach of the “Teddy Bear”. The center is scheduled to open in December 2018. U.S. U.S. Thursday morning’s ceremony saw Senator Thad Cochran, Dick Hall, Transportation Commissioner, and other federal and state wildlife officials gather at the new site. The ceremony was also attended by Collier’s great grand-niece Ann Marie Parker and Simon Roosevelt, Roosevelt’s great great grandson. Roosevelt stated that the visitor center would remind everyone who visits it in the future, both young and old, about the importance of hunting, ethical hunting, and public/private partnerships. This partnership has resulted in incredible land conservation in the Mississippi Delta. The Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuge was established in 2004 by legislation sponsored jointly by U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson and Cochran. Clarke Reed, a Greenville businessman, was the inspiration for the creation of the center. Federal funding of $5.6 million has been secured through two separate Senate bills that were sponsored by Cochran. The project was also funded by $400,000 from individual donors. Although the cost of this project is unknown, the Mississippi Department of Transportation plans to build a ramp and turning lane off U.S Highway 61. Bryant stated that the center would be a “gateway to the Delta” and attract more visitors. Bryant stated that tourism, economic development, and conservation all work together. Bryant also said that hunting will still be a major part of the Delta’s tourism.