Gulf Islands National Seashore

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

For the Pensacola area, Hurricane Ivan, which slammed the Florida-Alabama Gulf Coast 15 years ago, is now THE storm by which all others are compared.

Prior to that, it was Hurricane Opal in 1995 and Hurricane Frederic, which barreled ashore 40 years ago, in September 1979.

Frederic caused a lot of damage along the gulf coast and vividly changed the landscape of the region’s beaches, including Pensacola Beach.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Forty years after the first vision and about five years of preparation and delays, Pensacola’s ferry system is ready to shove off on Friday. The launch ceremony was held at Fort Pickens on Wednesday.

Dan Brown, Superintendent of Gulf Islands National Seashore, served as master of ceremonies.

“Today is proof that all the stars can align and dreams can come true,” said Brown. GINS is one of the three stops the two, 145-passenger ferries – Turtle Runner and Pelican Perch – will make on their triangular 45-minute voyages for pedestrians and bicycles.

Santa Rosa Island Authority

Three weeks into the 2018 season, the first sea turtle nests soon will begin to appear on area beaches.

Locally, Gulf Islands National Seashore is responsible for protecting and managing nests within the seashore and on Pensacola Beach. This year, GINS is implementing new sea turtle nesting protocols that limit human interaction.

Visit Pensacola

Work is underway at Johnson Beach to remove some dilapidated structures considered unfit for public use, and sand considered to be a nuisance to both buildings and visitors.  

“Extensive structural damage” is said to be the reason the buildings are coming down. Among them is the Star Pavilion, which Dan Brown,  the Superintendent of Gulf Islands Nation Seashore, says is drawing everyone’s attention.

WUWF Public Media

Damage assessments are underway at Gulf Islands National Seashore in both Florida and Mississippi after Hurricane Nate. The park’s Florida portion remains closed for the next several days.

Here’s what we know, from park spokesman Brent Everitt:

“We did get a significant impact from the hurricane, and now they’re trying to evaluate what that exact damage is, and how it’s going to take us to get back up and running,” said Everitt.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Three areas in Gulf Islands National Seashore remain closed due to the impact of Tropical Storm Cindy.

The three areas on Santa Rosa Island, Ft. Pickens, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa, are still heavily inundated by the significant amount rain that’s fallen over the last couple of days.

Park spokesman Brent Everitt says the high waves and tides continue to push water across the roadways, causing a lot of issues in those areas. One of the problems is 3-6 inches of standing water over a three-mile stretch of Fort Pickens Road.

Moto Electric Vehicles

Visitors to downtown Pensacola could be able to park and ride later this month, thanks to six new electric trolleys from Gulf Island National Seashore.

With the park’s ferry service in limbo the new electric trolleys, each consisting of motor and trailer units, are being loaned to the City of Pensacola. Each vehicle can hold 27 passengers.

nps.gov

With May 1 the beginning of sea turtle nesting season in the Florida Panhandle, preparations are being made for one of the area’s most welcome summer guests.

Five species of sea turtles are found in the Gulf of Mexico, three of which are known to nest on Pensacola Beach: the loggerhead, the green turtle, and the Kemp’s Ridley. Of those, the loggerhead is most common.

IHMC

As pleasant as it is to walk the beach in shorts and barefoot in January, I’m one who really likes winter. It brings, or at least used to bring, relief from the smothering humidity that blankets Northwest Florida’s summers. Not to mention the insects.

'Outdoors' most of the year means the beach or our creeks and rivers; hiking the woods and wet prairies is best left to the crisp, dry days of fall and winter, which this year have been few and far between. I’ve heard many complaints from hunters sweating in their blinds, not the outdoor experience they sought.

City of Pensacola

If you’ve made plans to ride the new ferry service between downtown Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens, you have a bit of a wait ahead of you – until next year.  

Scheduled to begin this May, the project is now delayed in favor of beginning a new search for an operator. That emerged from a meeting last week among the National Park Service, Escambia County and the City of Pensacola.

IHMC

People across Northwest Florida breathed a sigh of relief last week when the first rains in recent memory swept in to ease what had become a serious drought. This week’s rains brought more comfort.

They also reminded us that no matter how powerful and sophisticated we think of ourselves as a society, we share something with past civilizations: we remain at the mercy of the weather, which of course is a function of the climate.

And there are no shortages of reminders these days, both here and elsewhere, of just how powerfully nature dictates to us.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

  Major road work is getting underway at Gulf Islands National Seashore – again. 

The timing of the multiple projects is no accident. It’s late September and the end of the shorebird nesting season at Gulf Islands National Seashore, where Dan Brown is Superintendent. 

“We wrote that right into the contract, and wanted them to get started as quickly as they possibly could following the end of shorebird nesting season,” Brown said. “So that they would be completely done in March, when the shorebirds start nesting again.”

Plans to begin ferry service between downtown Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens are still set for next spring, but have been pushed back a few weeks. 

Next March was the original target date to launch the two boats and the triangular routes, but Dan Brown, Superintendent of Gulf Islands National Seashore, says some of the components of the service are meeting some challenges and delays.

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

 

 University of West Florida students were among those leading teams of citizen scientists that surveyed plants and animals at the first Gulf Islands BioBlitz and Biodiversity Festival.

 

While BioBlitz events have been held at parks in the National Park Service system for years, Saturday marked the first such festival at Gulf Islands National Seashore. 

 

Gulf Islands National Seashore

 

Residents and visitors could enjoy taking a ferry to downtown Pensacola, Fort Pickens and Quietwater Beach as early as next March, if everything stays on schedule.

Dan Brown is Superintendent of Gulf Islands National Seashore. He said, "we've got a lot of moving parts on this and we're communicating with our partners on a regular basis, staying on track so far, and we're excited"

 

Pages