• NPS News Release: Gulf Islands National Seashore is Beginning to Increase Recreational Access to Are

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    May 01, 2020
    Gulf Islands News Release
     
    Release Date:  Immediate
    Contacts:         Brent Everitt, Brent_Everitt@nps.gov, 850-934-2612
     
    Gulf Islands National Seashore is Beginning to Increase Recreational Access to Areas of the Park
    The Naval Live Oaks, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa Areas have projected reopening dates.
     
    Gulf Breeze, Fla. – Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Gulf Islands National Seashore is increasing recreational access at three Florida areas. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
     
    Beginning on the dates listed below, Gulf Islands National Seashore will reopen access to:  
    • The Okaloosa Area on Saturday, May 2
      • No restrooms
    • The Naval Live Oaks Area on Saturday, May 2
      • No restrooms
      • The headquarters exhibit area will remain closed
    • Santa Rosa Area, including Highway 399 on Wednesday, May 6
      • The Opal Beach Complex will remain closed
     
    With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:
    • The Fort Pickens, Fort Barrancas, Perdido Key, and Davis Bayou areas
    • Petit Bois, West Petit Bois, Horn, and Ship islands, as well as, the NPS-owned portion of Cat Island
     
    “The Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Naval Live Oaks areas are almost exclusively used by the surrounding Florida counties which cleared the phase one gating criteria on May 1,” said Superintendent Dan Brown. “The other areas of the national seashore draw visitors from areas that have not yet met the required gating criteria based on the White House’s guidance. In evaluating some park areas, the National Park Service assessed communities within an eight-hour drive, as is consistent with visitation information.”
     
    The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Gulf Islands National Seashore, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.  
     
    While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services will be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
     
    The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.  
     
    Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website www.nps.gov/guis and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus
     
    About Gulf Islands National Seashore: Created in 1971, the national seashore stretches 160 miles along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and Mississippi, and includes barrier islands, maritime forests, historic forts, bayous, and marine habitat. Visit us at www.nps.gov/guis, on Facebook www.facebook.com/GulfIslandsNPS, Twitter www.twitter.com/GulfIslandsNPS, Instagram www.Instagram.com/GulfIslandsNPS.
     
    About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice and Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice.
     
    -NPS-
    Contact:
    Chanda Ryan, Executive Director
    Chanda.Ryan@NavarreChamber.com, 8509393267