Seratt bringing ‘Pilot’s Wheel’ back to state

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 25, 2009

Bill Seratt is bringing the Mississippi River Parkway Commission “Pilot’s Wheel” back to Mississippi.

The executive director of the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau is in Minnesota today and on Saturday he will be installed as pilot, or president, of the commission at its bi-annual meeting in Red Wing.

“I’m really honored to have been asked to become pilot and bring the Pilot’s Wheel back. It’s been about 15 years since a Mississippi member has been pilot, the last being Charles Dean of Cleveland, and I hope this will bring even more attention to tourism in Mississippi and Vicksburg,” Seratt said.   

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The MRPC National Board of Directors is comprised of one representative from each of the 10 states the Mississippi River either flows through or borders. Each member is appointed by a state governor. Seratt has been on the board for the past 13 years and has served most recently as vice president, or pilot pro-tem.

As pilot for at least the next two years, Seratt said he hopes to get more portions of roadway bordering the river established as part of the Great River Road — a 2,000-mile-long stretch of highways and byways across seven of 10 river states with the National Scenic Byways Program designation. 

“Ultimately, I want to see the entire stretch of highway along the river designated as a National Scenic Byway and truly make it America’s Great River Road,” Seratt said.

In Mississippi, U.S. 61, U.S. 49 and Mississippi 1 have received Great River Road designation from Vicksburg north to the Tennessee border, however, there is no designation from Warren County south to the Louisiana border. States still without any Great River Road designations are Kentucky, Tennessee and Louisiana.

Portions of the road can receive the distinction by state application to the Federal Highway Administration, which has christened a system of 125 roadways in the country as America’s Byways for distinct archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities of each roadway.

The MRPC was created in 1938 as a promoting agency for highway improvements, recreational trails, bikeways, scenic overlooks and historic preservation along the Mississippi River. It develops interpretive markers along the Great River Road, promotes various travel itineraries along the route and works with private developers to create new attractions on the scenic byway. It advertises the cities and towns along the Mississippi River, including Vicksburg.

The Mississippi River begins as a trickle out of Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota, and flows 2,320 miles through or alongside Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana before spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.

Seratt came to Vicksburg from his native Greenville to head the VCVB in April 2007. He previously had served as director of the Greenville-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau for 11 years and helped found the Mississippi Delta Tourism Association. He is a past president of the MDTA and the Mississippi Tourism Association, and currently serves on the Mississippi Sesquicentennial Commission, Mississippi Blues Commission and Mississippi Blues Foundation.


Contact Steve Sanoski at