Collier deserves name on interpretive center

Published 11:38 pm Saturday, May 15, 2010

Holt Collier was a remarkable man. Born as a slave about 1836, he nonetheless chose to fight for the Confederacy during the War Between the States and fought valiantly, military records show. Before and after the war, he gained acclaim as a supreme outdoorsman in the lower Mississippi Delta, credited with killing 3,000 bears before his own death about 1936. Most famously, he was the guide for President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902 that resulted in creation of teddy bears.

Like many in his day, Collier apparently assumed nature would never run out of “goods,” such as the bottomland hardwoods that formed their habitat or the bears themselves.

But resources were depleted until preservation efforts were begun. Since 2004, Collier’s name has already been on the Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuge, part of the larger Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge where natural repopulation of bears is under way.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Now comes word his name might be on a $6 million federal interpretive and education center on 33 acres in Rolling Fork. It’s excellent news for that community. It’s also pretty smart to assure generations will know how crucial preservation of habitat is to all species, including the human species.

From all descriptions, Holt Collier was quite a character. His story should be known to all.