The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

Two Stack Islands?

Stack Island predates steamboats on the river, but was originally located on the East bank (left bank descending).  As such it was considered Mississippi property when the state lines were drawn.  It is said to have disappeared during the New Madrid Earthquakes 1811 – 1812.  According to Marion Bragg, “Two or three years later, a sandbar appeared where the island had been. The sandbar became a towhead, and the towhead grew into a new island. By 1820, Stack Island 94 was back on the voyagers’ maps and John James Audubon spent a night there late in the winter of that year. He was entertained, he said, by some woodcutters who lived in the area. They had some tall tales to tell about the size and ferocity of the wildlife of the area. They claimed that alligators, wolves, and bears of enormous size were overabundant in the vicinity of Stack Island and swore that a huge brown tiger had recently frightened a 12-year-old boy literally to death.”  (Historic Names & Places).


Over the years since then a portion of Stack Island has disappeared and reappeared or in a slow migration across the main channel of the river over to the Louisiana side (right bank descending).  It has melded itself to the shoreline above Lake Providence so smoothly that unless you see it from the air you would swear that it’s not an island at all, but part of the bank.  The Mississippi owners have maintained throughout the years that the island is the same Stack Island that used to be in Mississippi, and never disappeared, but slid across the river.  But some land owners in Louisiana saw the emergence of the island on their side of the river as a fortuitous addition to their holdings.  These Louisiana opportunists argue that the islands are not the same, and that the old Stack Island got submerged or washed away, and a new Stack Island has emerged.  In 1995 The State of Louisiana took the dispute to the Supreme Court, where J. Kennedy delivered the opinion for the unanimous court.  The case hinged on whether the island disappeared or not. Here is how J. Kennedy reported it: “we are unconvinced that Stack Island disappeared in 1883. Louisiana alleges other disappearances, including one as recently as 1948. We find no credible evidence of these disappearances, but instead find compelling evidence of Stack Island’s continued existence. We note first that the North portion of Stack Island has 70-year-old cottonwood trees growing on it and that longtime residents of the area report no disappearances of the island. The record, moreover, contains numerous maps of the region beginning with the 1881 patent survey and coming into the present era, and every one of them shows the existence of Stack Island. With the exception of a single exhibit, dated 1970, all the maps and mosaics show a land mass that the mapmaker identifies by name as Stack Island, even for the years since 1954 when that land mass has no longer been insular in form. These maps show Stack Island’s progression from the Mississippi side of the River to the Louisiana side. When the maps are superimposed one over the other in chronological order, the successive maps show a land mass covering a significant portion of Stack Island shown on the preceding map. The maps satisfy us that Stack Island did not wash away and is now the disputed area.”

(From 1995, LOUISIANA v. MISSISSIPPI, U.S. Supreme Court).


To further confuse the issue in our present day, not one but two Stack Islands appear on the most recent set of US Army Corps Maps, one at the top of Baleshead, that we’ve denoted “left bank” Stack Island, and the other above Lake Providence that we’ll denote 

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Middle Mississippi & Bluegrass Hills / Bootheel 195-0, 954-850 ST. LOUIS TO CARUTHERSVILLE
Chickasaw Bluffs 850 – 737 CARUTHERSVILLE TO MEMPHIS
Upper Delta 737 – 663 MEMPHIS TO HELENA
Middle Delta 663 – 537 HELENA TO GREENVILLE
Greenville to Lake Providence
Greenville, Mississippi  
Greenville Accomodations and Restaurants  
Greenville Blues Festivals  
Greenville Boat Ramp  
Greenville Harbor  
537 LBD Warfield Point Park
537 LBD Old Warfield Point Boat Ramp
537 LBD New Warfield Point Boat Ramp
537 LBD New Warfield Point Boat Ramp
534 LBD Vaucluse Landing
531.5 RBD Sunny Side Landing
530.7 LBD Greenville Bridge
529 – 525.5 LBD Lakeport Towhead / American Bar
525 LBD American Cut-Off / Lake Lee
Lake Lee Public Boat Ramp  
Options for Paddlers Below Greenville Bridge Near American Bar and Lake Lee  
Lake Washington  
523 – 520 RBD Island 68
519 – 515 RBD Kentucky Bend
515 – 512 LBD Leota Bar / Cracraft Chute
514 – 512 RBD Worthington Cutoff, Matthews Bend, Grand Lake, Island 88
512 RBD (And Up Back Channel) Grand Lake Landing Boat Ramp
510 – 506 RBD Cracraft Bar
Paddler’s Choices Through Cracraft Chute & Sarah’s Cutoff  
Entering Louisiana  
503.5 RBD Bunch’s Cutoff
503 RBD Chute of Old River Lake
505 – 502 LBD Corregidor Bar
500 – 495 RBD Wilson Point Bar
496 LBD Tennis Court Landing
Vicksburg Gage  
Water Levels and Dikes  
494 – 487 LBD Baleshead / Stack Island / Ben Lamond
Two Stack Islands?  
Lake Providence  
Lake Providence Landings  
Paddler’s Choices in the Mayersville – Lake Providence Area  
487 – 481 LBD Shipland Wildlife Management Area
Lake Providence to Vicksburg
Vicksburg Gage  
Water Levels and Dikes  
Water Levels and Dikes  
Lake Providence  
Lake Providence Landing  
Paddler’s Choices in the Mayersville – Lake Providence Area  
487 – 481 LBD Shipland Wildlife Management Area
480 – 474 Fitler Bend
471 – 465 Arcadia Point Bar / Cottonwood Bar
Paddler’s Routes Arcadia Point Bar / Cottonwood Bar  
462 – 459 RBD Willow Island
461 LBD Chotard Lake Terrapin Neck Cutoff
Laney’s Landing  
459 LBD 2010 F-4 Tallulah – Yazoo Tornado
458.8 LBD Eagle Lake Pass
458 LBD Tara Landing
457 RBD Madison Parish Port and Public Boat Launch
Bluz Cruz Kayak and Canoe Race  
Willow Island, Chotard Lake, and Eagle Lake: Paddler’s Routes  
458 – 449 Milliken Bend
449 – 445 RBD Sparta Island
449 – 445 RBD Marshall Cutoff
446.5 LBD Paw Paw Chute
The “Heart of the Darkness” Tour  
Around Paw Paw to Forest Home Chute  
Paw Paw to Vicksburg Via the Yazoo  
Steele Bayou Control Structure  
What Are the Paw Paws  
Paw Paw Chute / Sparta / Brown’s Point: Paddler’s Routes  
445 – 442 Brown’s Point
444 Brown’s Point Fault Line
441 – 438.5 RBD Delta Point Bar
Habitat Restoration on the Lower Miss  
438 RBD King’s Point / Secret Entrance Into Lake Centennia
437.7 LBD Mouth of the Yazoo River
Vicksburg Services and Accommodations  
Vicksburg Services, Accommodations, and Restaurants  
Looking Downstream  
Loess Bluffs 437 – 225 VICKSBURG TO BATON ROUGE
Atchafalaya River 159 – 0 SIMMESPORT TO MORGAN CITY
Louisiana Delta 229 – 10 BATON ROUGE TO VENICE
Birdsfoot Delta 10 – 0 VENICE TO GULF OF MEXICO