"Lifeguard Station" by U.S. National Park Service , public domain

Gulf Islands

National Seashore - FL,MS

Gulf Islands National Seashore offers recreation opportunities and preserves natural and historic resources along the Gulf of Mexico barrier islands of Florida and Mississippi. The protected regions include mainland areas and parts of seven islands The Florida District of the seashore features offshore barrier islands with sparkling white quartz sand beaches (along miles of undeveloped land), historic fortifications, and nature trails. Mainland features near Pensacola, Florida, include the Naval Live Oaks Reservation, beaches, and military forts. The Mississippi District of the seashore features natural beaches, historic sites, wildlife sanctuaries, islands accessible only by boat, bayous, nature trails, picnic areas, and campgrounds.



Official Visitor Map of Gulf Islands National Seashore (NS) in Florida and Mississippi. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Gulf Islands - Visitor Map

Official Visitor Map of Gulf Islands National Seashore (NS) in Florida and Mississippi. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Detail of Davis Bayou of the official visitor map of Gulf Islands National Seashore (NS) in Florida and Mississippi. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Gulf Islands - Davis Bayou

Detail of Davis Bayou of the official visitor map of Gulf Islands National Seashore (NS) in Florida and Mississippi. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Detail of Pensacola Bay of the official visitor map of Gulf Islands National Seashore (NS) in Florida and Mississippi. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Gulf Islands - Pensacola Bay

Detail of Pensacola Bay of the official visitor map of Gulf Islands National Seashore (NS) in Florida and Mississippi. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Official Highway Map North of Florida. Published by the Florida Department of Transportation.Florida State - Highway Map North 2023

Official Highway Map North of Florida. Published by the Florida Department of Transportation.

https://www.nps.gov/guis/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_Islands_National_Seashore Gulf Islands National Seashore offers recreation opportunities and preserves natural and historic resources along the Gulf of Mexico barrier islands of Florida and Mississippi. The protected regions include mainland areas and parts of seven islands The Florida District of the seashore features offshore barrier islands with sparkling white quartz sand beaches (along miles of undeveloped land), historic fortifications, and nature trails. Mainland features near Pensacola, Florida, include the Naval Live Oaks Reservation, beaches, and military forts. The Mississippi District of the seashore features natural beaches, historic sites, wildlife sanctuaries, islands accessible only by boat, bayous, nature trails, picnic areas, and campgrounds. Millions of visitors are drawn to the Gulf of Mexico for Gulf Islands National Seashore's emerald coast waters, magnificent white beaches, fertile marshes and historical landscapes. Come explore with us today! Gulf Islands National Seashore is a place of myriad riches - blue-green, sparkling waters, magnificent white beaches, and fertile coastal marshes. Its 13 areas include historic forts, shaded picnic areas, trails, and campgrounds. From Cat Island, Mississippi, it stretches eastward 160 miles tot he Okaloosa Area east of For Walton Beach, Florida. Fort Barrancas Visitor Center The Fort Barrancas Visitor Center tells the long history of European settlers attempts to secure the vital Pensacola Bay beginning in the late 1700s and through its deactivation in the mid-1900s. The Fort Barrancas Area is on Taylor Road approximately a half mile east from the Museum of Naval Aviation. The area includes the historic Water Battery, Fort Barrancas, trails, visitor center, picnic areas, and the Advanced Redoubt. Visitors may access the Fort Barrancas via the main gate entrance to the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Fort Pickens Visitor Center Explore indoor exhibits on the natural environment, wildlife, and history of the Fort Pickens Area inside the Visitor Center. Enter Fort Pickens Area drive to the end of Fort Pickens Road. William M. Colmer Visitor Center Located in the Davis Bayou area of Gulf Islands National Seashore this is the main visitor center for the park resources in Mississippi. The entrance to the park's Davis Bayou area is located off of U.S. Highway 90, accessible via exits 50 or 57 on I-10. Davis Bayou Campground Gulf Islands National Seashore's Davis Bayou Campground offers tent and recreational vehicle camping experiences in a wooded area next to Davis Bayou in Mississippi. Davis Bayou Campground Site 22.00 There is a standard year round rate for each of the campsites within the Davis Bayou Campground. Senior pass holders are eligible for a 50% discount on nightly fees. Davis Bayou Campground Group Camping (10-25 campers) 20.00 The group camping area at the Davis Bayou Campground can accommodate groups for a single nightly rate. Davis Bayou Campground Group Camping (26-40 campers) 30.00 The group camping area at the Davis Bayou Campground can accommodate groups for a single nightly rate. Davis Bayou RV Camping Several RVs stand in front of a grassy field. Davis Bayou RV Camping Davis Bayou Tent Camping A motorcyle stands at a grassy tent campsite. Davis Bayou Tent Camping Davis Bayou Campground Sunlight shines through the trees onto an RV and car at a campsite. Sunny campground at Davis Bayou Davis Bayou Campground Dog A dog and owner sit in front of a campfire at their RV site. A dog and owner at Davis Bayou campground Fort Pickens Campground The Fort Pickens Campground is one of the top ten busiest campgrounds in all of the 420+ national parks and sites. Available all year round it provides access to white sandy beaches and trails, including the Florida National Scenic Trail. The campground office is located in a historic white building located halfway down Fort Pickens Areas on Fort Pickens Road. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check-in begins at 2 p.m. Entrance Fee 25.00 An additional fee to enter the National Park is required to be purchased separately. Fort Pickens Campground Loop E A road bisects a grassy campground with RVs and cars. Fort Pickens Campground Loop E Fort Pickens Tent Camping The sun sets on a small tent set up in the grass near a small road. Tent camping can be an excellent experience at Fort Pickens. Florida Trail A trail bridge leads to a gravel trail leading into the distance between trees. Access trails directly from your campsite. Florida Trail at Campground Loops B-E A sign for the Florida National Scenic Trail stands in front of a campground loop. Florida Trail at Campground Loops B-E Fort Pickens Campground Restrooms The sun reflects off of a concrete structure with four shower entrances. Fort Pickens Campground has restrooms, showers, and coin operated laundry services. Fort Pickens Campground Loop E Restrooms A concrete restroom stands in a campground. Fort Pickens Campground Loop E Restrooms Loop A Overflow Parking A sign for overflow parking stands in the bushes with a gravel parking lot beside. Overflow Parking at Campground Loop A Fort Pickens Campground Loops D-E Several empty grass campsites with picnic tables and pavement stand in a row. Fort Pickens Campground Loops D-E Fort Pickens Campground Loop A A row of empty campsites stands with a tree in the foreground. Fort Pickens Campground Loop A Fort Pickens Campground Loop A A road bisects a campground with trees lining the sides. Fort Pickens Campground Loop A Tent Camping at Fort Pickens Tents and picnic tables under the trees at Fort Pickens. Tent Camping at Fort Pickens Naval Live Oaks Youth Group Camping This area is available reservation throughout the year for organized youth groups comprised primarily of young people under the age of 18. This group camping area is located near Gulf Breeze, Florida and has direct access to Pensacola Bay for water recreation. The campsite features restrooms, outdoor showers, a picnic shelter, and campfire ring. The Naval Live Oaks Area has over 7.5 miles of trails for campers to explore. Naval Live Oaks Youth Group Camping (10-25 campers) 20.00 The group camping area at the Naval Live Oaks Youth Group Campsite can accommodate groups for a single nightly rate. Naval Live Oaks Youth Group Camping (26-40 campers) 30.00 The group camping area at the Naval Live Oaks Youth Group Campsite can accommodate groups for a single nightly rate. Campfire Ring Wooden benches surround the campfire ring a the Naval Live Oaks Youth Campground. Wooden benches surround the campfire ring a the Naval Live Oaks Youth Campground. What a View! A wooden bench sets below trees at the edge of the water The youth campground is right on the bay. Restrooms and Outdoor Showers A brick building with restrooms on either side. The youth campground has flush toilet restrooms and outdoor showers. Pavilion Picnic tables sit under a shaded pavilion. The youth campground features a large picnic pavilion, perfect for gathering the whole group beneath for meals or activities. Beach Scene Fluffy white clouds shadow overhead as blue-green waves crash against a white sand beach. Blue-green waves crash on the white sand beaches of Gulf Islands National Seashore. Fort Pickens Visitor Center A room full of exhibits and displays about natural and cultural resources. Visit the Fort Pickens Visitor Center and learn more about the national seashore's awesome stories and resources. Kayaking at Gulf Islands National Seashore Two kayakers paddle toward the camera. Experience the park from the water and see what makes Gulf Islands National Seashore so special. Fort Massachusetts A brick fort stands on the edge of a white sand beach. Fort Massachusetts is one of the four forts built in 1800s preserved by Gulf Islands National Seashore. Pensacola Bay City Ferry in Florida Ferry in the Pensacola Bay A National Park Service ferry navigates the Pensacola Bay to Fort Pickens. The First Bombardment of Pensacola Bay On the morning of November 22, 1861, a Union cannon inside Fort Pickens broke the sound of crashing waves and cawing gulls. More cannon on Santa Rosa Island soon joined in the effort to destroy the Confederates across the bay. Confederate cannon inside forts McRee and Barrancas, and more than a dozen earthen sand batteries, soon returned fire. The fighting continued until after sunset when a thunderstorm swept through the area. Historic engraving showing a birds-eye view of the bombardment of Pensacola Bay in 1861. The Second Bombardment of Pensacola Bay Civil war engulfed the United States by January 1862. East and west of the Appalachian Mountains, Union and Confederate forces dotted the landscape, ready to march and fight. In northwest Florida, Union and Confederate soldiers welcomed the New Year engaged in a fierce bombardment that warned of hardships and sacrifices for both the North and the South. Four panel historic engraving showing several scenes from a bombardment in different locations. Florida Secession As President of Florida’s secession convention, John C. McGehee believed remaining in the Union meant allowing rule by those who were "sectional, irresponsible to us, and driven on by an infuriated fanatical madness that defies all opposition" and who would "destroy every vestige of right growing out of property in slaves." A newspaper clipping announcing Florida's secession from the Union in 1861. Mississippi Secession Mississippi seceded from the United States on January 9, 1861. In doing so, members of the state’s secession convention felt it their duty to tell the world why. "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery--the greatest material interest of the world," members declared. Most members saw secession as necessary to protect and continue slavery, the source of white wealth, identity, and values. Black and white image of the old Mississippi state house. Shark Awareness Before heading into the ocean, review some safety information to further minimize the chances of a shark encounter. Shark and fish in the blue ocean waters Gulf Islands Wildland Fire Collaboration Gulf Islands Wildland Fire Collaboration Battery Langdon During WWII as the threat of Japanese and German naval encroachment increased, Battery Langdon’s guns were enclosed in concrete casemates with walls 10 feet thick and 17 feet of overhead masonry to protect them from incoming projectiles Battery Langdon Battery Pensacola Battery Pensacola's position in Fort Pickens shows a contrast between the old brick and the more modern concrete batteries-- in Battery Pensacola the bricks are black. Battery Pensacola Battery Cooper This battery is camouflaged by and earthen bunker making it invisible looking at it from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Battery Cooper Battery Payne With Battery Trueman to the north, the guns from both of these batteries covered as 360 degree field of fire. Battery Payne Replacement of Waysides at Davis Bayou & Ship Island In 2017, this project provided for the replacement 52 wayside exhibits in the Mississippi areas of the park including, 22 on Ship Island and 30 at the Davis Bayou Area. Two sun-damaged wayside panels lean against frames holding the new panels. Replacement of Lifesaving Station Windows This 2013 project replace the 36 windows at the historic Lifesaving Station with new historically accurate windows to protect the historic structure. Red roofed building with a small parking lot. Fort Pickens Restroom Facility This 2018 project replaced the outdated restroom facility at historic Fort Pickens with a new accessible restroom at the Fort Pickens Mine Storeroom area. Concrete restroom structure under construction. Pensacola Bay Cruises Tour Boat Videos To enhance the rider experience aboard the tour boats, this 2017 project developed three interpretive videos. A tour boat docked at a concrete pier with a black railing. Permanent Message Reader Boards This 2018 project provided funding for remotely operated permanent variable message boards at the park. A electronic message board stands next to a roadway. Johnson Beach Lifeguard Tower This 2017 project funded the replacement of the Perdido Key, Johnson Beach Lifeguard tower. A lifeguard tower stands on a beach. Davis Bayou Campground Restrooms This 2012 project replaced the outdated and in extremely poor condition restroom facility at the Davis Bayou Campground with a fully accessible facility including restrooms and showers. Exceeding Expectations During the fight for freedom, African American soldiers were forced to deal with discrimination on a regular basis. For no other reason than possessing a different skin color, these men were perceived to be inferior troops. Yet over several fierce fights, men such as the Louisiana Native Guard proved their worth. Photo of African American soldier Emancipation and the Quest for Freedom Although the abolition of slavery emerged as a dominant objective of the Union war effort, most Northerners embraced abolition as a practical measure rather than a moral cause. The war resolved legally and constitutionally the single most important moral question that afflicted the nascent republic, an issue that prevented the country from coalescing around a shared vision of freedom, equality, morality, and nationhood. Slave family seated in front of their house Unmanned Aircraft Assists with Research at Gulf Islands National Seashore In September 2014, an unmanned aircraft was used to photograph an area of Gulf Islands National Seashore known as The Camille Cut. A man holds a small fixed wing aircraft above his head. Campground Loops A, C, & B-D Restrooms These projects, funded in 2013, 2015, & 2017, replaced the old inefficient, outdated, and inaccessible restroom facilities at the Fort Pickens Campground. A concrete restroom building with trees and scrub brush surrounding. Ruddy Turnstone The ruddy turnstone is often seen alongside the larger Willet and the smaller Sandpiper along the shores of Gulf Islands. Ruddy Turnstone 25th United States Colored Troops: The Sable Sons of Uncle Abe During the Civil War, men of African descent fought to preserve the nation they helped create and extend freedom to enslaved people. Black infantrymen in the 25th United States Colored Troops (USCT) carried freedom's banner into northwest Florida. From Pensacola Bay, the 25th helped save the Union, end slavery, and prepare for a new future. Historic poster reading "Men of Color, To Arms! To Arms! Now or Never" Racoon With black masks that make them looks like bandits, raccoons are always an interesting species to watch. A raccoon peering around a tree Golden Silk Orb Weaver These spiders are also sometimes referred to as banana spiders. Golden silk orb weaver on a web Killdeer If not seen the killdeer can be heard with a high pitched call: ="kill-deer," for which the bird is named for. Killdeer out in the open Willet Larger than your average shorebird Willet on the shore Mine Storeroom Adaptive Reuse Several minor projects in 2017 and 2018 related to the restoration of the building were funded through the fee program. New concrete pathways are poured in the foreground of two brick buildings. Environmental Assessment to Reconfigure Visitor Parking and Beach Access at Perdido Key Area Thanks to funding provided through entrance fees in 2015, the park was able to complete this critical step allowing for a scope of work to be developed so the park can obtain additional funding to implement the planned redesign. Engineering Report on Fort Pickens Area Water Systems This 2016 project provided the park with an engineering report to guide the replacement of this outdated and inefficient systems. Historic Structure Reports These projects, funded by your fee dollars, created Historic Structure Reports which lay the foundation for the National Park Service to preserve the historic structures in its care. Davis Bayou Picnic Area Restrooms This 2015 project replaced the restroom facility in the Davis Bayou Picnic Area. The Fort Pickens Parley A high-stakes meeting took place outside Fort Pickens three months before the start of the Civil War. Four men—William H. Chase, Ebenezer Farrand, Jeremiah H. Gilman, and Adam J. Slemmer—met to negotiate for the fort. The meeting's outcome would decide who controlled the most powerful fort on Pensacola Bay and one of the most important ports in the United States. A historic engraving of men meeting on a dock. Beach Morning-glory Beach morning-glory's beautiful white blooms can be seen growing in the white sands at Gulf Islands. Beach Morning-glory Common Nighthawk Common nighthawks can be identified while they are flying by their white patches out past the bend of each wing. A common nighthawk flying Eastern Ribbon Snake Often mistaken for a garter snake, the eastern ribbon snake is much more slender. Eastern Ribbon Snake Battery Worth Completed in 1899, Battery Worth is located northeast of Battery Cooper on Santa Rosa Island. Battery Worth Carolina Anole This green anole is the only native species of anole in the United States. Carolina Anole Preserving Places of Captivity: Civil War Military Prisons in the National Parks During the Civil War, over 400,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were held prisoner at more than 150 diff erent prison sites. Approximately 56,000 of these died in captivity. Although Andersonville is the most famous Civil War prison, it is only one of many Civil War military prisons that are preserved by the National Park Service. False Rosemary With beautiful purple flowers, false rosemary is a member of the mint family. False Rosemary Preservation of Batteries Cullum-Sevier Closed to all public access for many years due to the unsafe conditions, Batteries Cullum-Sevier preservation has begun. Some portions of the 1920s additions have collapsed and water intrusion has caused the steel reinforcements to corrode, which has significantly weakened the concrete structure. There is a long road ahead which will require funding, but the park service is committed to preserving and providing access to this historic site in the coming years. Concrete crumbles from an elevated position. Second Louisiana Native Guard Organized in October of 1862, the 2nd Louisiana Native Guards was mustered into service and initially all but one of the company officers were considered men of color. Colonel Nathan Daniels was in command and the enlisted men signed up for three years of infantry service. Recruits varied in age from 17 to 56 and in experience including skilled tradesmen like cigar makers, masons, coopers, printers, slaters, and engineers. Black and white image of African American soldiers formed on a beach. Andrew Jackson in Pensacola, Florida Andrew Jackson may not have been present in Pensacola often, but his presence is an important part of this city’s legacy. Jackson was assigned to Pensacola three times, once in 1812, then in 1818, and lastly in 1821 and each time his actions were in favor of American freedoms, authority, and sovereignty. Though not every decision Jackson made while in Pensacola was well received, each experience impacted his future and the future of this country. A pencil sketch of soldiers marching into a city, an officer is on horseback in the center. 2014 Sea Turtle Annual Report Cape Hatteras 2014 annual report on sea turtle monitoring at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Green sea turtle returning to sea after laying her eggs. Andrew Jackson Trail The first major federal highway in Florida. White sand path cutting through green trees and plants. A bright sun in a blue sky. Third System of Coastal Forts How should a country protect its borders? The United States had to consider this question when the War of 1812 ended in 1815. One year later, the federal government believed it had an answer. The nation created a broad national defense strategy that included a new generation of waterfront defenses called the Third System of Coastal Fortifications. The Battle of Santa Rosa Island The air on Pensacola Bay was tense in October 1861. In September, Union sailors and marines destroyed the Judah, a Confederate ship under modification at the Pensacola Navy Yard. Now, Union and Confederate forces waited for the next battle to explode in a growing civil war. A map of the Battle of Santa Rosa Island. Yaupon Holly This shrub’s bright berries and dense branches provide food and shelter for birds and mammals. Learn more on our quick facts page. Red berries on green-leafed shrub branches against a blue sky. Stingray Stingrays have eyes on top of their bodies and mouths on the underside. To catch prey, stingrays rely on smell and electroreceptors. Learn more on our quick facts page. Dark grey stingray buried in the sand underwater. Beach Segregation We all love spending a warm day on a beautiful beach. However, there was a time when public beaches were not open to all to enjoy. Public beaches, like many other public facilities such as schools, swimming pools, theaters, and restaurants, were segregated. This segregation came in the form of local and state laws, as well as, “understood” social norms. Collectively these laws and social norms were known as Jim Crow. Green vegetation grows on a white sand beach, blue-green water extends into the distance. Fort Pickens Ordnance Shop The foundation of these buildings can still be seen standing in the center of the Fort Pickens Historic District just to the northwest of historic fort access road. Aerial black and white photo of several buildings scattered across a sandy landscape. Battery 233 Constructed during World War II, this battery on Perdido Key was never armed or named, but dominates the landscape today. A black line sketch of a defensive battery floor plan with many features identified. US Life-Saving Service The United States Life-Saving Service (USLSS), the predecessor to the United States Coast Guard, formed in 1878. The story of the USLSS dates to almost 100 years before the service became an official agency, to the noble efforts of the Humane Society of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a group of affluent individuals seeking to prevent needless deaths from shipwrecks. A black and white photo of seven men wearing uniforms and standing in front of a boat house. Black Racer Young black racers do not resemble adults and are generally tan or grey with brown or red patches running down the center of the back. A black and white snake sticks out a black tongue. Coyotes As members of the dog family, coyotes can be identified by their narrow snout, small nose pad, and large ears relative to their head size. A light and dark brown coyote in a grassy field. Gulf Fritillary Gulf Fritillary's can often be seen fluttering around passionflower vines. Gulf Fritillary Battery Trueman Battery Trueman and Battery Payne worked together to protect the Pensacola Harbor 3-inch rapid-fire gun atop Battery Trueman Battery Van Swearingen The threat of war with Spain prompted the immediate construction of this battery in 1898. Van Swearingen Seacoast Ordnance Cannon manufactured for use in Third System forts are called seacoast ordnance. These were some of the largest and heaviest cannon available at the time. Cannon at forts Pickens, McRee, Barrancas, Massachusetts, and Advanced Redoubt fell into three categories: guns, howitzers, and mortars. Each had a specific purpose. A cannon is mounted over a brick wall, an American flag is flying to the left. Nutria This invasive species can be found on the national seashore's barrier islands in Mississippi. A brown rodent surrounded by green vegetation. Documentation of the historic Battery 234 Tower This project allowed the park the park fully documented the tower through the Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP), specifically the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) prior to the removal of the observation booth. As part of the documentation, the tower was scanned with photogrammetry in order to get a detailed 3D picture of the state and condition of the tower before it is dismantled. A heat map where color represents height; the image shows a observation tower. Battery Worth Picnic Pavilion Accessibility Improvements Project replaced approximately 1,085 square feet of deteriorated, crumbling and raised edge concrete with new, level ADA concrete walkways to include four ADA compliant grill pads and two outdoor shower pads. The new sidewalks, grill pads, and showers permit visitors a solid, accessible path. An open-air brick pavilion stands in the distance with showers in the foreground. Cottonmouth The only aquatic viper in the world, also referred to as a water moccasin. Learn more on our quickfacts page. Brown scaled snake with a large, open, white mouth exposing fangs. Battery Center The first concrete battery constructed on the eastern end of Perdido Key, this four-cannon battery helped protect Pensacola Bay into the early 1900s. Black and white image of a barrier island with two low concrete structures surrounded by a seawall. Live Oak Tree Known as “live oaks” for their ever-green properties, the Q. virginiana is native to the southern region of the United States. The live oak is known for its impressive size, heartiness, and density. Mississippi Quarantine Stations Port cities during the late 1800s and early 1900s were alive with activity. Global trade made these towns sickly places as travelers arrived after long trips at sea. To combat this, many sea-faring ports created quarantine rules for protection from disease. Off the coast of Mississippi, barrier islands were used to house quarantine stations. Passengers disembark from a small vessel at the US Quarantine Station. Chemical Warfare Station on Horn Island The Chemical Warfare Service Quarantine Station on Horn Island was a project by the US Army to test toxic weapons during WWII. Poisonous warfare has a long history, dating back to at least 600 BCE. In its modern use, weapons using deadly chemicals have destroyed thousands of lives. Newspaper clipping describing the destruction of mustard gas bombs on Horn Island. Japanese Americans on Cat Island In late 1942, the US Army selected Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans) from the 100th Infantry Battalion to take part in a top-secret training mission. Whisked away under secrecy, the soldiers traveled to Ship Island, Mississippi. Ray Nosaka, one of the selected Nisei, noted that the group did whatever they wanted for the first two weeks until “Major Lovell came and told us that we are going to train dogs and it’s located on Cat Island.” 25th United States Colored Troops: 1864 Muster Roll During the Civil War, several regiments of the USCT served within the park boundaries. We have few details of the men who served at the forts in our museum collection. But one object in the collection, a muster roll from 1864, has valuable information: names! Opal Beach Security Doors Replacement The Opal Beach restrooms are year-round facilities used by park visitors. The original security overhead doors no longer worked, preventing the park from securing the restrooms. This project completely replaced the six damaged overhead doors and their hardware. A concrete building with a pull-down, grill gate, across the doorway opening. Civil War Along the Gulf Coast The United States' Gulf Coast is steeped in Civil War history and memory. Scattered among the beaches and bays, bayous and rivers, forests and farms, are some of the most important sites related to a conflict that defined a nation. A historic engraving of the Battle of Mobile Bay, ships engaged with a coastal fort. Fort Pickens Group Camping Restroom Replacement This project replaced the existing comfort station at the Fort Pickens Group Camping area which was failing and did not meet current accessibility requirements or visitor needs. The new comfort station installed as part of this project four stalls of which all are ADA. A crane lifts a pre-constructed building into place in a sandy area. Davis Bayou Boat Ramp Replacement This project completely rebuilt the public boat launch at the Davis Bayou Area of the national seashore. Narrow piers extend into water, marsh and woodland areas are seen in the background. Lionfish Lionfish have no known predators in non-native waters, making them highly invasive. A scuba diver in blue ocean water looks at a red and white striped fish. Batteries Cullum and Sevier Battery Sevier was formed by the separation of Battery Cullum into two batteries Batteries Cullum and Servier American Kestrel North America’s smallest falcon species. Learn more on our quick facts page. Black, white, and brown feathered Kestrel perched in a tree. Coachwhip Non-venomous snake slithering during the day. Learn more on our quick facts page. Black/brown scaled coachwhip in a tree. North American Bald Eagle A symbol of freedom and strength, the majestic bald eagle was officially adopted as the emblem of the United States in 1787. Learn more on our quickfacts page. A brown and white feathered bald eagle perched in a tree. Sanderling A speedy little member of the sandpiper family. Learn more on our quick facts page. Small, white and grey sanderling running from the waves on a beach. Field Moment: Gulf Island National Seashore; 19 October 2014, 1:12 a.m.; Turtle T.H.i.S. Youth volunteers help conserve sea turtles at Gulf Islands National Seashore Youth volunteers measure nighttime ambient light conditions at Gulf Islands National Seashore NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida and Mississippi Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. [Site Under Development] sandy beach Changing Patterns of Water Availability May Change Vegetation Composition in US National Parks Across the US, changes in water availability are altering which plants grow where. These changes are evident at a broad scale. But not all areas experience the same climate in the same way, even within the boundaries of a single national park. A new dataset gives park managers a valuable tool for understanding why vegetation has changed and how it might change in the future under different climate-change scenarios. Green, orange, and dead grey junipers in red soil, mountains in background Women in Fire Science: Alicia Schlarb Alicia Schlarb is the lead fire effects monitor for a portion of the National Park Service's Southeast Region. She and her crew provide prescribed burning, monitoring, and wildland fire responses to national parks located within Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and portions of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida. She loves fire and that she can change perceptions about wildland fire through science. Alicia Schlarb. Regina P. Jones Underwood Brake Regina Jones-Brake's career with the National Park Service (NPS) began in 1976 with the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. Over the next 33 years, her love of American history compelled her to share untold stories as she advanced from park ranger to management assistant. Regina Jones-Underwood pictured outdoors in her NPS uniform. Paleontology in the Parks Fellowships: A New Collaborative Program between the Paleontological Society and the National Park Service Dr. Christy Visaggi and her students Michael Clinton and Megan Rich are conducting pilot projects at Gulf Islands National Seashore and Vicksburg National Military Park for the joint National Park Service–Paleontological Society Paleontology in the Parks Fellowship Program. photo of 2 people sitting in an off road vehicle on a beach Series: Park Paleontology News - Vol. 14, No. 1, Spring 2022 All across the park system, scientists, rangers, and interpreters are engaged in the important work of studying, protecting, and sharing our rich fossil heritage. <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/newsletters.htm">Park Paleontology news</a> provides a close up look at the important work of caring for these irreplaceable resources. <ul><li>Contribute to Park Paleontology News by contacting the <a href="https://www.nps.gov/common/utilities/sendmail/sendemail.cfm?o=5D8CD5B898DDBB8387BA1DBBFD02A8AE4FBD489F4FF88B9049&r=/subjects/geoscientistsinparks/photo-galleries.htm">newsletter editor</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/">Fossils & Paleontology</a> </li><li>Celebrate <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/">National Fossil Day</a> with events across the nation</li></ul> photo of 2 people kneeling in shallow water at the base of a steep slope Battle of the Bark Trees shade us from the sun, provide homes for wildlife, stabilize Earth’s surface, and produce food for humans and animals alike. Some are massive, and others are miniscule by comparison, but what makes one better than the other—we’ll let you decide! Check out our iconic trees below and find your favorite! Five thick barked red-brown trees are backlit by the sunlight. Coastal Geohazards—Storm Surges Storm surge may severely impact coastal geomorphology and inundate park resources. Brought by coastal storms, storm surge can be dangerous and have lasting effects. Coastal areas that remain at low elevation are prone to the effects of storm surge. The magnitude of a storm surge is increased when coupled with sea level rise. damaged road with sand overwash Series: Coastal Geohazards Natural processes such as tsunamis, coastal landslides, and storms are driving forces of change along the coast. These processes and other coastal hazards can threaten parks’ cultural and natural resources, infrastructure, and public recreational opportunities. storm surge waves breaking over pathway Helping Islands Stay on a “Budget” National island parks in the Gulf of Mexico are hemorrhaging sand at an increasing rate. Here's how we slow the bleeding. Man in NPS uniform climbs onto a damaged seaside road from the ocean side 50 Nifty Finds #11: Carving a Place in NPS History Few employees have left as visible a mark on National Park Service (NPS) exhibits as John A. Segeren. His work has been enjoyed by generations of park visitors who never knew his name but appreciated his intricate wood carvings and playful animal figures displayed in parks throughout the system. A master woodcarver described by former President Lyndon B. Johnson as "a legacy to this country," Segeren carved out his own place in NPS history. Round wooden plaque with bison, globe, and waterfall Outside Science (inside parks): Teens & Turtles When sea turtles hatch in areas with lots of light pollution, they can get disoriented and not make it into the ocean. This episode tracks the young volunteers in the Pensacola, FL area working to help turtle hatchlings make it to the sea. Sea turtles
Gulf Islands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida and Mississippi Treasures Along the Gulf Coast Fort Pickens, completed 1834, on Santa Rosa Island, Florida. All theories about the barrier islands’ formation involve waves, winds, and fluctuating sea levels. The islands move steadily westward as longshore currents wear away their eastern ends and build up the western ends. Shifting winds sculpt the dunes. Storms also alter islands’ shapes when waves wash over the surfaces and rearrange sand. Such constant changes are slowed only by the protective covering of grasses and other plants on the dunes and island interiors. Sea oats (shown above) have elaborate stem and root systems that play a vital role in holding these islands together. NPS NPS Dunes of snow-white sand on Horn Island, Mississippi. The waters of the sounds, bays, and bayous are less salty than the Gulf. NPS How Barrier Islands Change A great blue heron at sunset. NPS Evidence of the American Indians who settled in the forests and marshes helps archeologists understand the native peoples’ long history. After ”discovery” by Europeans came a long struggle for the region’s control. Eventually Florida and Mississippi became part of the United States. The US government developed the first federal tree farm at Naval Live Oaks Area in 1828 for the single purpose of cultivating live oaks, used for shipbuilding. To help defend the mainland against foreign invasion, the government began fortifying Pensacola in 1829, and Ship Island, Mississippi, in 1859. From Ship Island’s Fort Massachusetts the Union Army staged the capture of New Orleans in 1862. By the end of the Civil War new inventions like rifled cannon and ironclad warships called for new defenses. The US Army Coast Artillery Corps built underwater mines, searchlights, a complex system for tracking targets at sea, and huge guns in concrete batteries. These coastal defense systems became obsolete after World War II, and the military eventually abandoned the fortifications. NPS Congress established the national seashore in 1971 to protect the barrier islands, wildlife, salt marshes, historic structures, and archeological sites along the Gulf of Mexico, and to provide recreational opportunities. The long, narrow islands are composed of white sand carried seaward by rivers draining from the Appalachian Mountains. During violent storms the islands function as barriers, blocking ocean waves that would otherwise strike the mainland with greater force. NPS Gulf Islands National Seashore is a place of many riches—bluegreen, sparkling waters, magnificent white beaches, and fertile coastal marshes. It 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. Saw palmetto grows under stands of pine and oak. American Indians found medicinal uses for its berries. Mainland Homes for Plants and Animals Bayou Despite nature’s unrelenting forces, life clings tenaciously to the barrier islands. Grasses and other plants slow the constant change process. Shrubs and some trees stand only a little higher than the dunes that protect them from salt spray. Sound Whiting Cordgrass can tolerate fluctuating sea levels. Submerged roots break down, helping to create ”nursery grounds” where finfish and shellfish grow. Interior marshes collect rainwater and support many plants and animals. Nutrients washed from the mainland enrich the waters of the bayous, sounds, and bays, which are less salty than the Gulf. Here shrimp and fish spend parts of their lives. Herons, egrets, and fiddler crabs reproduce and thrive. The barrier islands also protect plant and animal communities on the mainland coast. Florida Pompano Barrier Island Gulf Flounder Opossum Gulf of Mexico Fiddler Crab Red Drum Shrimp Lined Hermit Crab Clapper Rail Diamondback Terrapin Eastern Oyster Loggerhead Sea Turtle Brown Pelican Blue Crab Osprey Raccoon Armadillo Cottonmouth Five-lined Skink Great Blue Heron ANIMAL AND MARINE LIFE ILLUSTRATIONS NPS / DOROTHY-MICHELLE NOVICK BARRIER ISLAND ILLUSTRATION NPS / ROBERT W. TOPE Exploring Gulf Islands VISITING THE MISSISSIPPI AREAS On the mainland, William M. Colmer Visitor Center in Davis Bayou, near Ocean Springs, offers information, a bookstore, maps, exhibits, and films. The center is closed on Thanksgiving, December 25, and January 1. For hours, programs, and boating and fishing regulations, check the park website, www. nps.gov/guis or call 228-230-4100. VISITING THE FLORIDA AREAS The barrier islands, about 10 miles offshore, offer dramatic scenery, but facilities are limited. You can reach Cat, East Ship, Horn, and Petit Bois islands only by private boat. Use your own boat or hire a licensed operator from the list at the visitor center in Davis Bayou and on our website. Follow signs for Gulf I
Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida, Mississippi National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Fort Pickens “...as the means of preserving peace, and as obstacles to an invader, their influence and power are immense.” - Lt. Henry W. Halleck “Report on the Means of National Defense” 1843 Coastal Defense For over a century, Fort Pickens guarded the entrance to the Pensacola Bay Harbor and the Navy Shipyard, protecting the American coastline from foreign invasion. The fort has withstood the actions of war, time, and the elements. Named after Revolutionary War hero General Andrew Pickens, the fort was the largest of the four forts built in this area. General Andrew Pickens Construction Army drawing of Fort Pickens Civil War Fort Pickens bombarding Forts McRee and Barrancas Defense Through the 1900s Modern batteries were added in and around the fort. During the War of 1812, vulnerabilities along America’s shores were exploited by British forces. In response, the United States constructed a system of over 40 coastal forts. These forts could withstand cannon balls fired from wooden ships. Fort Pickens is an enduring monument to a time in American history when our independence and national security were dependent upon the brick and mortar of our seacoast fortifications. Designed for over 200 cannon, built with over 21.5 million bricks and completed in 1834, Fort Pickens was a formidable structure and a war machine. Built in the shape of a pentagon, the fort could withstand possible attack on all five faces; landward on the east side and seaward on the other four. Its four-foot thick walls and symmetrical archways were built to endure heavy cannon fire. Construction began in 1829 under the supervision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Due to the lack of skilled laborers in the area, the government allowed contractors to use slave labor. Up to 200 enslaved masons, carpenters, and laborers of African descent were working at any given time. Those working on the fort were exposed to disease, intense heat, and high humidity. Following the completion of Fort Pickens, many of these slaves went on to build Forts McRee and Barrancas. Although built to repel foreign invaders, the only combat that took place at the fort was during the American Civil War. In October 1861, General Braxton Bragg led 1,000 Confederate soldiers in a land assault against Union forces encamped outside the fort. Following the Battle of Santa Rosa Island, Union forces bombarded Forts McRee and Barrancas from land and sea on November 2223, 1861, and again on January 1-2, 1862. All three forts sustained some damage, but Fort McRee and the navy yard were nearly destroyed. Confederates abandoned Pensacola in May 1862. Fort Pickens saw no further combat, and the fort remained in Union control throughout the war. To keep up with advances in technology, Fort Pickens underwent dramatic changes after the Civil War as part of a larger system of upgrading American defenses. New batteries were added, smoothbore cannon were replaced or converted to rifled cannon, and equipment to lay and maintain an underwater minefield in the harbor was installed. The most notable addition is Battery Pensacola, constructed in 1898. Painted black to reduce glare from sand and water, it covers most of the parade ground, and is one of many reinforced concrete batteries built on the island. Learn more on the Coastal Artillery self-guiding tour. Preservation Fort Pickens was an integral part of the United States’ coastal defense system until 1947 when coastal forts were declared surplus. Formerly a state park, in 1971, Fort Pickens became part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, which preserves the structure and tells the fort’s history. Today, Fort Pickens represents a link between our past, present and future. Fort Pickens visitor center and museum are open daily. For more information about visiting the fort, and a current listing of ranger-led programs, please visit our website at nps.gov/guis, like us on Facebook - Facebook.com/GulfIslandsNPS, or call 850-934-2600. The National Park Service turns 100 in 2016. Celebrate the Centennial with us with programs and activities throughout the year. Learn, discover, be inspired, or simply have fun at Gulf Islands! Guide to Fort Pickens Take a stroll through history to see how Fort Pickens was designed to oppose enemy forces from the early 1800s through 1947. As you wander, be careful of uneven sandy surfaces and steps and low doorways. To preserve our history, practice “Leave No Trace” principles and Pack-it-in, Pack-it-out. 1.Sallyport: Secured with heavy oak doors, this is the main entrance to the fort. The word “sally” means to rush forth. Tracks were later installed to move heavy equipment and ammunition to Battery Pensacola. 9 & 10. Counterscarp, Moat, & Bastions: The counterscarp created a ditch, or dry moat, on the other to protect the fort from land-based assaults. Attackers who reached the dry moat
Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida, Mississippi National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Fort Barrancas Situated on the bluffs overlooking Pensacola Bay, Fort Barrancas was built to protect the United States from foreign invaders. Once considered vital to national defense, today Fort Barrancas illustrates the evolution of military technology and American values. Building the Fort 1839-1844 After Spain’s cession of Florida to the United States in 1819, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dispatched officers to survey the new coastline. The U.S. Navy selected Pensacola Bay to become the site of its main navy yard on the Gulf Coast. In order to protect the navy yard and the bay, the U.S. Army built permanent coastal fortifications. Built between 1839 and 1844, Fort Barrancas was the third fort established on the bay. It was constructed over the ruins of a 1798 Spanish fort named Fort San Carlos de Barrancas. Situated below the barrancas (Spanish for bluffs) was a 1797 water battery named Bateria de San Antonio. The water battery was retained and modified for use by the Army. The Civil War 1861-1865 When Abraham Lincoln became president-elect in November 1860, Southern slaveholding states began seceding or talked of seceding from the Union. A national crisis had begun. On January 8, 1861, 1st Lieutenant Adam Slemmer ordered Company G, 1st U.S. Artillery to guard Fort Barrancas to prevent its seizure by Florida. On January 10, Slemmer evacuated the mainland forts in favor of Fort Pickens. That same day Florida seceded from the Union. Forts Barrancas and McRee, Advanced Redoubt, and the navy yard were occupied by Florida and Alabama militia on January 12. Fort Barrancas was used to organize and train Confederate soldiers. These soldiers used the fort’s cannon U.S. Coastal Defense 1885-1947 Fort Barrancas became obsolete because of new developments to cannon and naval war vessels. In 1885 the U.S. government began evaluating proposals for new coastal defenses, and an 1893 survey deemed Pensacola Bay commercially and militarily important. In 1902 Fort Barrancas was equipped with a Fire Commander’s Station and general secondary stations to help direct artillery fire from Santa The planned armament for the fort included: ten 24-pounders (pdrs); two 8-inch seacoast howitzers; five 18-pdrs; three 12-pdrs; one 8-inch mortar; two coehorn mortars; two field 6-pdrs and one field 12-pdr; and eight 24-pdr flank howitzers in the counterscarp. The water battery included eleven 32-pdrs; two 8-inch seacoast howitzers; and two 10-inch mortars. Major William H. Chase was the Army’s Superintending Engineer. Chase contracted a company to lease enslaved men to work as laborers and tradesmen to build the fort. From March 21 to September 21, the enslaved labored from sunrise to sunset, with one hour for both breakfast and dinner. in a bombardment against Fort Pickens on November 22 and 23, 1861. Confederate Major General Braxton Bragg wrote: “For the number and caliber of guns and weight of metal brought into action it will rank with the heaviest bombardment in the world.” The Confederate army evacuated Pensacola in May 1862. After sixteen months U.S. soldiers reclaimed Fort Barrancas. Some regiments that garrisoned the fort composed free and enslaved black men. These regiments included the 14th Regiment, Corps d’Afrique, 25th United States Colored Troops (USCT), 82nd USCT, and the 97th USCT. Private George Mitchell of Company G, 25th USCT, was a former slave who fought for his freedom at Fort Barrancas. Rosa Island and Perdido Key. By 1914 the fort received a radio station and two steel masts. The Coast Artillery Corps was responsible for these defenses through World War II. Fort Barrancas was declared surplus in 1947. As military technology and American values evolved, the mission for Fort Barrancas remained the same – protect the bay and the laws, principles, and lives of American citizens. Guide to Fort Barrancas 1. Glacis: This gentle earthen slope protected the fort from land-based artillery while exposing attacking infantrymen. 2. Scarp and Counterscarp: The main walls (scarp) supported the barbette which provided defense against both ships and infantry. The outer walls (counterscarp) supported the glacis and provided loopholes for muskets and embrasures for cannon to fire into the ditch. 7. Scarp Gallery: A series of arches supported the sand fill and allowed access to the loopholes for muskets. Vertical vents above the loopholes allowed smoke from the guns to escape. 8. Counterscarp Gallery: A tunnel under the ditch leads to this casemated area, containing loopholes for muskets, embrasures for cannon, and powder magazines to allow reverse fire into the ditch. 9. Parade: This open area is where troops were inspected or drilled. The foundation in the corner indicates where a hot shot furnace, in which round shot was heated before firing, once stood. 10. Water Battery: The tunnel from the parade leads
Gulf Islands NS National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida District Advanced Redoubt of Fort Barrancas Why Redoubt? The Advanced Redoubt of Fort Barrancas was built between 1845 and 1870 as part of a defensive network for the Pensacola Navy Yard. Forts Pickens, McRee, and Barrancas protected the entrance to the harbor; the Advanced Redoubt was constructed to defend the northern side of the peninsula on which the navy yard was located. On October 8, 1863, Confederate Brigadier General Clanton led an attack against Fort Barrancas defended by U.S. Colored Troops of the 14th Regiment Corps d’Afrique and the 7th Vermont Infantry. General Clanton was heard to say that his men were after the blacks; “that he would not fire on the white pickets, but that every black picket that could be seen would be shot.” After a brisk skirmish the estimated 200 Confederates retired into the woods. The next day the Confederates returned and engaged the pickets with musketry at Advanced Redoubt. The Federals blazed back with small arms and a few howitzer rounds. The Confederate troops retreated again with no casualties reported on either side. An Infantryman’s Nightmare: Attack the Redoubt The design of the Advanced Redoubt (an enclosed work protecting a strategic point), exhibits the idea of defense in depth. As an attack began to beat back the defenders, the attacking soldiers would meet new obstacles to their progress. The goal was to make an assault as costly as possible and to exhaust the attacking troops before they could gain access to the fort and the navy yard beyond. The modern visitor approaches the Advanced Redoubt from the east and south, coming first to the side and rear of the fort. However, an enemy would most likely have come from the west, down the peninsula. Touring the Redoubt Step Back in Time To appreciate the power of the fortress take a stroll through history to see how the Advanced Redoubt was designed to oppose enemy forces. As you wander, be careful of uneven walkways, dark areas, slippery places, and snakes. #1. You are on an open slope called the glacis. As an attacker, you would be exposed to cannon and musket fire from the main wall (scarp) as well as musket fire from the top of the outer wall (counterscarp). The solution is to dig a series of trenches to cover the advance. The trenches must be big enough for cannon as well as infantry to advance. #2. As a rush of infantry from the trenches overwhelms the west end of the counterscarp, defenders would fall back to these traverses. Defending soldiers are still protected, while the attackers are now exposed. The two traverses allow the defense to fall back gradually while offering stubborn resistance. Tradition and Technology caught in a deadly crossfire of musketry while facing a hail of canister from the howitzers. The brick-lined ditch is the cunette, for drainage. #4. If the enemy reaches the back of the fort (the gorge), additional musket fire would come from galleries atop the demibastions on either side. (The pitting visible today resulted from target practice in the 1930s and 1940s.) #5. Attackers might attempt to enter the fort through the sallyport after first destroying the drawbridge. On either side are embrasures for howitzers, both atop and within the demibastions. Here was the deadliest crossfire of all. #3. At the end of the moat are two windows that have been sealed with red brick. These are embrasures for cannon called flank howitzers. Canister, cannonsized buckshot, would be fired down the ditch. Notice the loopholes (vertical windows in the wall) on either side. Infantry could fire muskets through these loopholes while completely protected by the wall. Anyone in the moat would be These forts could only be taken by means of a siege. Weeks of trenching would bring cannon up to point-blank range to pound the walls with solid shot. Debris from the collapsing walls would fill the moat and give access to the fort’s interior. A siege took a tremendous amount of time, equipment, and casualties, and might be broken at any time if reinforcements arrived at the Redoubt. The Advanced Redoubt was built at the end of an era, incorporating the lessons of many centuries of engineering. For over 500 years, cannon had hurled round iron balls to batter down walls. Cannon had ended the age of castles, and had led to the designs found in seacoast forts like Pickens, Barrancas, and Redoubt. Among the most advanced of their day, these forts were built to last for centuries. Nevertheless the fort was completed because engineers had not yet solved the problems presented by the new weapons. But the changes in technology that mark the modern age had begun before the Redoubt was completed. By the end of the American Civil War in 1865, rifled cannon and ironclad warships had made this fort, and all others like it, obsolete. The United States continues to struggle with the need for protection. A
National Park Service U. S. Department of Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Coast Artillery Self-guided Tour Battery Cullum at the instant of firing, 1930 “It felt like the world was ending.” McHenry Harry, 1935 When Langdon’s guns went into action the vibrations could be felt all the way to Pensacola across the bay. McHenry Harry recalled the first time he pulled the lanyard, the cord which activated the firing mechanism: “It felt like the world was ending.” His hat blew off, his pants split, and he could see concussions rippling through the sand. Homeland Security through World War II Before the age of nuclear weapons, “homeland security” meant “harbor defense.” In the absence of long-range airplanes, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and amphibious assault equipment, any potential attack on the U.S. (except from Canada or Mexico) required capturing harbors to unload armies and supplies. Protecting the harbors protected the entire country, and harbor defenses received our best technologies and most powerful weapons. The success of Fort McHenry in keeping the British fleet out of Baltimore Harbor in the War of 1812 inspired the “Star-Spangled Banner” and the building of castle-like forts to defend other harbors from 1817 to 1870. For centuries, cannons fired round balls and ships were made of wood. Against these threats, masonry forts like Pickens and Barrancas were unbeatable. Simply building such forts at all major harbors effectively closed them to foreign navies and the armies they might bring. But by the end of the Civil War in 1865 all this had changed. Revolutionary inventions including rifled cannon and ironclad warships had defeated harbor defenses. New defenses were needed. 2 Coast Artillery Self-guided Tour Underwater mine defenses (shown here about 1910) were used at Pensacola from 1894 until 1926. Protecting harbors against modern navies required new weapons and tactics, and eventually a new branch of the U.S. Army, the Coast Artillery Corps (CAC). The CAC used underwater mines, searchlights, complex systems for tracking moving targets at sea, and huge guns in concrete batteries. The threat of fast motorboats led to rapid-firing artillery, airplanes led to anti-aircraft artillery, and every new naval threat was countered by new defenses. By the 1930’s, the job of defending Pensacola Bay fell to the 13th Coast Artillery Regiment, headquartered at Fort Barrancas Army Post, on what is now the western half of Pensacola Naval Air Station. A 10-minute ferry ride took the men across the bay to Fort Pickens, where a smaller army post area supported all of the active gun batteries. Summer encampments housed Florida National Guard units and Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) students from The Citadel, University of Alabama, Mississippi State, and Georgia Tech for weeks of training on anti-aircraft and heavy artillery, and the complex science of tracking a moving target across miles of featureless water by triangulation. Once on the island, men assigned to outlying batteries boarded a narrow-gauge train, dubbed the B&F for “back and forth” railroad, that made the 3-mile run twice daily. A soldier missing the train had a tiring hike through the soft island sand to his destination, watching for rattlesnakes. For the plotting crew, the triangulation tracking system required coordinated spotting to the ringing of a 15- or 20-second time interval bell, using precision optics, and doing complex calculations while National Park Service 3 Dressed in dark blue denim fatigue uniforms, artillerymen posed next to a 12-inch artillery shell for Battery Pensacola, circa 1910 under stress. Far greater hazards were encountered at gun drills. Guns weighing as much as 58 tons, projectiles over 1000 lbs., and large amounts of high explosives presented constant dangers. Even when everything worked right, the concussion of firing the big guns could knock a man breathless. Hearing problems were so common that the condition was called “Artilleryman’s Ear.” When things went wrong, men were maimed or killed. Tensions were high after Pearl Harbor and German U-boats sank ships in the Gulf of Mexico in 1942, but by 1943 the tide of war turned in favor of the Allies. The last batteries built at Pickens and McRee were completed that year, but never armed. New technologies of that war, including jet airplanes, ballistic missiles, and the atomic bomb, made harbor defense less important to homeland security. Fort Pickens and the Fort Barrancas Army Post closed in 1947. Guns, railroad tracks, and steel towers were salvaged, leaving only concrete remains. Now gulls call and children play where powerful weapons once shook the earth and stood ready to defend the country. Not long ago, these concrete bunkers were vital to homeland defense. Their time has passed even as the story continues, and new threats demand new defenses. To learn more about harbor defense, tour the concrete batteries or read The Soldiers Story: Th
Gulf Islands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida District Animal Checklist The Wild in Wildlife This animal checklist includes amphibians, reptiles and mammals observed on the offshore islands, on the mainland and in the waters of Gulf Islands National Seashore. These habitats provide resting, feeding and nesting areas for a variety of wildlife. Federal laws protect all wild animals within the park. Please keep wildlife Wild by not feeding or harassing them. Offering food is unhealthy for the animal and potentially unsafe for you. An unrestrained pet can harm wildlife and destroy their habitat, while possibly endangering the pet. By protecting the park’s natural resources, the National Seashore will be preserved for all to enjoy. Key Abundance Status - Federal (F) & State (S) Caution A = Abundant C = Common U = Uncommon R = Rare T = Threatened E = Endangered SSC = Species of Special Concern V = Venomous Mammals White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus R Coyote Canis latrans R Common Gray Fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus U Red Fox Velpes vulpes U Bobcat Lynx rufus R Striped Skunk Mephitis mephitis C Northern River Otter Lutra canadensis U American Mink Mustela vison R Common Raccoon Procyon lotor C Black Bear Urus americanus R Short-finned Pilot Whale Globicephala macrohynchus R Atlantic Spotted Dolphin Stenella frontalis R Bottle-Nosed Dolphin Tursiops truncatus C Pygmy Sperm Whale Kogia breviceps R Sperm Whale Physeter macrocephalus R Brazilian Free-tailed Bat Tadarida brasiliensis R Big Brown Bat Eptesicus fuscus U Seminole Bat Lasiurus seminolus C Evening Bat Nycticeius humeralis R Virginia Opossum Didelphis virginiana C Eastern Mole Scalopus aquaticus C Swamp Rabbit Sylvilagus aquaticus R Eastern Cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus U American Beaver Castor canadensis R Nutria Myocastor coypus C House Mouse Mus musculus U Muskrat Ondatra zibethicus R Marsh Rice Rat Oryzomys palustris U Santa Rosa Beach Mouse Peromyscus polionotus leucocephalus U Perdido Key Beach Mouse Peromyscus polionotus trissyllepsis R E(F & S) Norway Rat Nattus norvegicus C Black Rat Rattus rattus U Hispid Cotton Rat Sigmodon hispidus C Southern Flying Squirrel Glaucomys volans R Eastern Gray Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis C Fox Squirrel Sciurus niger R Manatee Trichechus manatus R E(F & S) Nine-Banded Armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus C Reptiles American Alligator Alligator mississippiensis R SSC(S) T(F) Eastern Glass Lizard Ophisaurus ventralis C Scarlet Snake Cempphora coccinea R Florida Scarlet Snake Cemophora coccinea coccinea R Eastern Racer Columber constrictor A Black-masked Racer Columber constrictor latrunculus U Southern Black Racer Columber constrictor priapus C Ring-necked Snake Diadophis punctatus R Corn Snake Elaphe guttata guttata C SSC(S) Eastern Rat Snake Elaphe obsoleta C Common Kingsnake Lampropeltis getula U Speckled Kingsnake Lampropeltis getula holbrooki C Coachwip Masticophis flagellum flagellum C Salt Marsh Water Snake Nerodia clarkii U Green Water Snake Nerodia cyclopion C Plainbelly Water Snake Nerodia erythrogaster R Southern Water Snake Nerodia fasciata C Banded Water Snake Nerodia fasciata fasciata U Florida Green Water Snake Nerodia floridana U Brown Water Snake Nerodia taxispilota C Rough Green Snake Opheodrys aestivus C Redbelly Snake Storeria occipitomaculata R Southeastern Crowned Snake Tantilla coronata R Eastern Ribbon Snake Thamnophis sauritus sauritus C Common Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis C Eastern Coral Snake Micrurus fulvius fulvius C V Mediterranean Gecko Hemidactylus torcicus A Southern Fence Lizard Sceloporus undulatus vundulatus C Green Anole Anolis carolinenisi C Southeastern Five-lined Skink Eumeces inexpectatus A Broadhead Skink Eumeces laticeps C Ground Skink Scincella lateralis C Six-Lined Racerunner Cnemidophorus sexlineatus C Cottonmouth Agkistrodon piscivorus U V Eastern Diamondback Rattleshake Crotalus adamanteus C V Pigmy Rattlesnake Sistrurus miliarius C V Carolina Pigmy Rattlesnake sistrurus milarius miliarius U V Loggerhead Sea Turtle Caretta caretta C T(S & F) Hawksbill Sea Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata U Green Sea Turtle Chelonia mydas U E(S & F) Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Lepidochelys kempii R E(F & S) Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina C Alligator Snapping Turtle Macroclemys temminckii U Leatherback Sea Turtle Dermochelys coriacea R E(F & S) Yellow-bellied Slider Trachemys scripta C Chicken Turtle Deirochelys reticularia U Diamondback Terrapin Malaclemys terrapin U Common Cooter Pseudemys floridana C Eastern Box Turtle Terrapene carolina U Red-eared Slider Trachemys scripta elegans C Eastern Mud Turtle Kinosternon subrubrum C Gopher Tortoise Gopherus polyphemus R SSC(S) Amphibians Oak Toad Bufo quercicus C Southern Toad Bufo terrestris C Southern Cricket Frog Acris gryllus C Green Treefrog Hyla cinerea C Pine Woods Treefrog Hyla femoralis C Barking Treefrog Hyla gratiosa C Squirrel Treefrog Hyla squirella C
Gulf Islands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida District Barrier Island Wildflowers Where they live Gulf Islands National Seashore’s barrier islands are home to a large variety of plants. The most noticeable are the wildflowers. Wildflowers are found in different plant and animal communities. Each community has a particular combination of environmental factors (soil type, light intensity, wind exposure and moisture) that determines where certain plants live. Plants help hold sand in place and provide food and shelter for animals. These plant and animal communities are critical to the survival of the barrier islands. For this guide, the following communities are used: Dune Sand dunes up to 30 feet in height that are parallel to the Gulf of Mexico and often continuous in appearance. Dunes are dry and sandy. Includes areas adjacent to dunes. Primary dunes (P) are closest the Gulf, secondary dunes (S) are behind primary dunes. Swale - Low, wetland areas with moist soil; may be flooded with rain water. Forest - Taller pines and oaks, shrubs and other plants grow in dry, sandy soil. Marsh - Contains standing freshwater (f), saltwater (s) or a mixture of both. Disturbed - Areas altered by people, usually near roads and/or structures. Plant type Blue/Purple Brown Green Unnoticeable Color Key W - Woody, tree or shrub V - Vine H - Herbaceous, green-stemmed plants Type Common Name Scientific Name Flowering Season Occurance by Habitat Sp - Spring, Mar. - May S - Summer, June - Aug. F - Fall, Sept. - Nov. W - Winter, Dec - Feb. Main season(s) underlined C = Common U = Uncommon R = Rare Flowering Dune Swale Forest season Marsh W Florida Rosemary Ceratiola ericoides S F C (S) W Beach Elder Iva imbricata S C H Square Flower Paronychia erecta Sp S C (S) W Sand Live Oak Quercus geminata Sp U (S) H Hastate Leaf Dock Rumex hastatulus Sp H Sandspur Cenchrus sp. Sp S F R (S) H Seaside Pennywort Hydrocotyle bonariensis Sp S F U H Black Needle Rush Juncus roemerianus Sp S F H Saw Palmetto Serenoa repens Sp S U (S) V Catbriar, Greenbriar Smilax spp. Sp S U (S) U H Cordgrass Spartina patens S U (S) U V Muscadine Grape Vitis rotundifolia Sp S R (S) H Sawgrass Cladium jamaicense S C (F) U (S) H Cattail Typha domingensis Sp S C (F) H Sea Oats Uniola paniculata S C H Scrub Mint Conradina canescens Sp U (S) C V Maypops Passiflora incarnata S R (S) R H Blue-eyed Grass Sisyrinchium sp. Sp H Spiderwort Tradescantia sp. Sp S Disturbed U U C C U U U R C U C C (S) R (S) U U C C (S) C U U U U C R C Red Color Yellow Pink/Lavender White Type Common Name Scientific Name Flowering season H Standing Cypress Ipomopsis rubra S H Balduina, Yellow Buttons Balduina angustifolia F V Trumpet Creeper Campsis radicans S W Woody Goldenrod Chrysoma pauciflosculosa F C (S) U H Golden Aster Chrysopsis sp. F C (S) U H Coreopsis, Tickseed Coreopsis spp. Sp H Rockrose Helianthemum arenicola Sp S C (S) U H Camphorweed Heterotheca subaxillaris Sp S F W C (S) U C W Atlantic St. John's Wort Hypericum reductum Sp S U (S) H Seaside Evening Primrose Oenothera humifusa Sp S F C H Prickly Pear Cactus Opuntia humifusa Opuntia pusilla Sp S R (S) U U H Narrow Leaf Ground Cherry Physalis angustifolia Sp S U (S) H Candywort Polygala lutea Sp S F U U (F) H Yellow Milkwort Polygala nana Sp S F U U (F) H Bladderwort Utricularia subulata S U C H Yellow-eyed Grass Xyris sp. Sp S C H False-foxglove, Gerardia Agalinis sp. F U (S) H Sandhill Milkweed Asclepias humistrata S U (S) H Sea Rocket Cakile constricta Sp S C (P) V Butterfly Pea Centrosema virginianum Clitoria mariana S U H Dwarf Sundew Drosera brevifolia Sp H Beach Pea Galactia sp. S V Arrowleaf Morning Glory Ipomoea sagittata S H Salt Marsh Mallow Kosteletzkya virginica S W Lantana (non-native) Lantana camara Sp S F C W Oleander (non-native) Nerium oleander Sp S F U H Phlox (non-native) Phlox drummondii Sp S C H Rose Pogonia Pogonia ophioglossoides Sp R H Milkwort Polygala brevifolia S F U U H Meadow Beauty Rhexia mariana Sp S C U H Sea Pink Sabatia spp. S F C H Sea Purslane Sesuvium portulacastrum Sp S F H Rain Lily Zephyranthes sp. Sp S F U H Wild Onion Allium canadense Sp C W Groundsel Tree Baccharis halimifolia S F H Spanish Needles Bidens sp. F V Dodder Vine Cuscuta pentangona Sp S F H White-topped Sedge Dichromena latifolia S W Yaupon Holly Ilex vomitoria Sp C (S) V Beach Morning Glory Ipomoea stolonifera S U (P) H Redroot Lachnanthes caroliniana S C U H Bog Buttons Lachnocaulon minus S C C H Jointweed Polygonella gracilis F H Rustweed Polypremum procumbens Sp S F V Dewberry Rubus trivialis Sp S H
Gulf Islands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida District Apache Prisoners at Fort Pickens Photo credit Pensacola Historical Society Fort Pickens as a Prison for Apaches On the morning of October 25, 1886 a train pulled into Pensacola, Florida. Onboard were 16 Apache men (in photo), some of their families and U.S. soldiers. Under guard, the Apache men were separated from their wives and children and forced onto a steamer for the short trip across Pensacola Bay to Fort Pickens. Their wives and children remained on the train and were taken to Fort Marion in St. Augustine, where 400 other Chiricahua and Warm Springs Apaches were imprisoned. Goyahkla, known as Geronimo, and Naiche, the youngest son of Cochise and hereditary chief of the Chiricahuas, were among the Apaches held at Fort Pickens until 1888. The Apache men were separated from their families, far from home and worried about the fate of their loved ones. The Apache Story After the Civil War, the U.S. government turned its military might against the native peoples of the West. Tribes were forced to give up most of their traditional lands and ways of life for reservations. After 1875, the reservations were steadily made smaller, as miners and settlers moved into the territory and demanded the land. The Chiricahua Apache reservation shrank from 7,200 square miles to 2,600 square miles by the 1880’s. The Apaches faced loss Geronimo’s Band Geronimo’s band raided across much of what is now New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico, successfully evading 5,000 U.S. soldiers (about a quarter of the U.S. Army at the time), and 3,000 Mexican soldiers. In desperation, the U.S. Army hired about 500 Apache scouts to track hostile bands. Geronimo’s group was finally contacted by two of the Apache scouts and agreed to meet in Skeleton Canyon, Arizona territory where they negotiated with General Miles on September 3, 1886. Four days later, the entire Chiricahua tribe, including the former Apache Army scouts and Apaches who had stayed on the reservation, were put on trains and exiled to Florida where they were held as prisoners. of their land as well as their freedom. Bands of Apaches hostile to one another were forced together on the dwindling lands. They distrusted the American government due to broken promises. As conditions on the reservation worsened, some bands escaped. Among these was the band led by Geronimo, who after the loss of his mother, first wife and three children during a Mexican raid, became a fierce leader. Pensacola gets a Tourist Attraction All of the Apaches were intended to be held captive at Fort Marion. Hoping to capitalize on Geronimo’s fame, several prominent Pensacola citizens petitioned the government to have Geronimo’s group sent to Fort Pickens. The petitioners stated Fort Marion was too crowded, and that Army troops from Fort Barrancas could guard Geronimo’s band at Fort Pickens. The editor of The Pensacolian noted Geronimo would be “an attraction which will bring here a great many visitors.” President Cleveland approved the petition for the Apache men only, separating them from their families and breaking another promise. Apache Life at Fort Pickens To see the Apaches, tourists had to first obtain a pass from Colonel Langdon and pay for a boat trip to the island. The Apaches were housed in two casemates (rooms for cannon) on the south side of the fort. They were issued army rations, cooking utensils, and clothing. Prisoners worked seven-hour days clearing overgrown weeds, planting grass, and stacking cannonballs. They were model prisoners who did not get into trouble or try to escape. The interpreter George Wratten reported to the guards that the Apaches “want to do what is required of them to the complete satisfaction of everyone.” He also reported that they longed to be reunited with their families, but felt the request would not be granted. Families are Reunited Fearing public outcry, Colonel Langdon petitioned his superiors to support the Apache’s request. The families, including those of Geronimo and Naiche, arrived at Fort Pickens on April 27, 1887 and were housed in officers’ quarters on the south side of the fort. Single men were moved to similar rooms on the north side of the fort. Now the sounds of women singing and children playing could be heard in the fort. The newspapers reported “Geronimo Happy.” In June 1887, a corn dance was held in celebration of the families’ reunion. About 300 Pensacolians attended on invitation from Colonel Langdon. The families were now together, although without their freedom and in an unfamiliar land. Perico and family at Fort Pickens Apaches Depart Unlike at Fort Marion where many Apache prisoners died, the Apaches’ health was generally good at Fort Pickens. There was only one death during the eighteen months they were held in Fort Pickens. She-gha, one of Geronimo’s three wives is buried at Barrancas National Cemetery
Gulf Islands Con National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Mississippi District West Ship Island Fort Massachusetts Coastal Protection In December of 1814, 10,000 British soldiers rendezvoused at Ship Island before attacking New Orleans, Louisiana. That same year many of the same troops had bombarded the defenses of Baltimore, Maryland, and burned the White House in Washington, D.C. Caught off guard, military leaders became painfully aware that the nation was vulnerable to foreign invasion. As a consequence, the U.S. War Department planned a system of brick fortifications known as Third System Forts. They were all challenging to construct. Fort Massachusetts, 12 miles off the Mississippi coastline, was one of the most difficult to build. In fact, it was never completed. Strategic Importance Ship Island was considered for a fort because of its deep-water harbor, location along a major shipping route, and previous military history. Debate really coast. argued surfaced on whether a fort was necessary off the Mississippi Some U.S. military officers that the shipping lanes could Construction Delays From the onset of construction in 1859, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was faced with obstacles. Living conditions, including isolation on the island, were difficult for the workers. The first superintendent died from yellow fever. Storms destroyed partially completed sections of the fort. After two years, only eight feet of the outer fort walls had been constructed. be better protected by naval patrols. Finally, Mississippians, including Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, pressured Congress for the fort. The argument was settled when Congress and President Franklin Pierce approved the construction of the last U.S. brick fortification built on the Gulf Coast. Building resumed after Union troops retook control of the fort and the island. Masons, carpenters, and other workers had to be hired from northern states. Bricks and additional construction materials were shipped from as far away as New England. The island was teeming with thousands of construction workers, as well as Union sailors and soldiers, including the African-American Louisiana Native Guards. Confederate prisoners of war and Union convicts were held captive as well. Isolated and far from loved ones, many became homesick. The Civil War created even greater problems. In January of 1861, Mississippi secessionists seized the unfinished fort and forced the workers off the island. The Confederates then built up the fort with timbers and sandbags. In July, Union “What a God forsaken place this is--No sailors aboard the USS Massachusetts news from home or anywhere else--I fear maneuvered the steamship within range of that Gen. Butlers expedition has been the western end of Ship Island. A brief abandoned, if so what will become of us exchange of cannon shots took place where shall we be sent?” until Union sailors steared their vessel to safer waters. Although the Confederates Union Colonel Edward Jones, January 21, claimed victory, they vacated the island 1861. that fall. Aftermath Completed in 1866, the fort’s cannon defenses were never fully installed. In 1873 the two 15-Inch Rodman Cannons were mounted when the U. S. felt threatened by the Spanish Navy. This threat never materialized. The fort’s cannons were never fired,and the iron was sold as scrap in 1901. Despite the end of its use as a military stronghold, the fort’s splendor and history have drawn people to Ship Island for years. In the 1960s, concerned, local residents formed a “Save the Fort” committee in the hope of preserving this structure from further deterioration due to beach erosion. Those efforts helped establish Gulf Islands National Seashore in 1971. A Tour of Fort Massachusetts S Step Back in Time Take a stroll through history to see how Fort Massachusetts was planned to oppose enemy naval forces. As you wander, be careful of uneven walkways, dark areas, and slippery places. Ramps allow access into the fort’s guard rooms on the lower level. 1. Sally Port The fort was designed with only one entrance, the sally port. The word sally means “to rush forth.” A drawbridge was planned but was never completed. 2. Observation Area Located to the west and between West Ship Island and the distant Cat Island is Ship Island Pass. It is one of the few natural deepwater channels in the Mississippi Sound. The channel was part of an important navigation route to and from New Orleans. When Fort Massachussetts was completed in 1866, the west end of the island was 500 feet from the fort. Today, the west tip is over a mile away. This is due to the natural movement and redeposit of sand from the island’s east end. In 2006 Hurricane Katrina covered the fort with 30 feet of storm surge. 7. Stair Tower Because of the fort’s size spiraling granite staircases were designed to use less space and provide protection against enemy fire. 8. Hot Shot Furnace This c
While the city an, Department of the Gulf, 1862 d its population were no longer in Confederate control, Union generals were aghast to see their army decimated not by bullets, but by Louisiana’s hot, humid climate and mosquito-borne yellow fever. Fearful of counter-attack and watching his New England troops fall to sickness, General “Beast” Butler sought to organize separate, pro-union, militia units of white and, with misgivings, black Louisiana locals. Proud Men
Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida, Mississippi National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Naval Live Oaks Reserved for the Nation President John Adams called the U.S. Navy “Wooden Walls” and considered the Navy the first line of defense from foreign invasion. Renowned for their resistance to disease and incredible density, live oak trees provided durable wood for the construction of navy vessels. The first tree farm in the United States was established here in 1828 in order to use the live oak timber for shipbuilding. The Naval Live Oaks Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore now preserves 1,400 acres for visitors to enjoy. Live Oaks The oak family, which includes over 450 species, is known for its durable wood. The live oak (Quercus virginiana) is one of the most recognizable members of this family. From a small acorn these trees grow up to 50 feet in height and live as long as 300 years. A cubic foot of live oak can weigh as much as 75 pounds compared to a white oak that weighs 56 pounds. Live oak leaves fall throughout the year. However, a tree never loses all of its leaves at once. This year-round or evergreen appearance gives the live oak its name. Shipwrights, also known as live oakers, located and felled massive branches and trunks to provide the specific shapes needed for sections of ships. About one thousand trees were used to build just one wooden vessel. The U.S.S. Constitution, the U.S. Navy’s oldest commissioned war vessel, is nicknamed “Old Ironsides” because cannon balls bounced off its oak hull in a battle during the War of 1812. Although the ship was originally constructed with live oak from Georgia, live oak from the Pensacola area was used for the ship’s 1929 restoration. Live oak trees played a critical role in the early years of the US Navy Naval Live Oaks Trails Guide Brackenridge Nature Trail Earning $400 a year Henry Marie Brackenridge cultivated live oak trees as Superintendent of the Naval Live Oaks Reservation. Trail markers identify plants and describe how live oaks were used in shipbuilding. The trail consists of a “figure 8” path with an observation deck at the far end. Beaver Pond Trail The Beaver Pond Trail passes through several plant communities typical of southeastern forests. A beaver dam can be seen at the northern end of the trail. When active, the beaver dam maintains the water level even during times of drought, attracting a variety of wildlife. Andrew Jackson Trail Also known as the Pensacola to St. Augustine Road, this trail was the first road connecting East Florida with West Florida. The U.S. Congress provided $20,000 for construction of the road in 1824 when Florida was still a territory. Old Borrow Pit Trail Sand from the borrow pit was used for the construction of U. S. Highway 98. The trail leads through longleaf and sand pine communities. Hikers on this trail will notice the benefits of a prescribed fire that rejuvenated the forest. Prescribed burns are conducted to enhance habitat for plants and animals and to prevent wildfires by reducing fuel loads. Secondary Trails Several secondary trails can be used for additional hiking. The heat and humidity can be intense! Wear sun protection and drink plenty of water. Watch out for snakes, chiggers, ticks, and poison ivy. ea al S il To Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens t Tra b Bo Sik e ri sB dg Toll Bridge cou 399 N S B oy on ati sh i Tra ary ng F is h i und l Bo ore on Trail No North An d re ck e Trail n 0 0 s Road Ol d S O 2,000 Feet 400 Meters Qu Pond Headquarters Pavilion tio S A O R Observation Platform Bra rail on T n rid ge cks w Ja Maintenance Area 98 T A N S A Camping Only Pavilion erpeYouth Group ve l Trai 98 To Pensacola ks Jac B utc h o nC Re a rv se ar r y Tr U N Trail D d e Ro a BREEZE rew And Trail Name Andrew Jackson Brackenridge Fishing Beaver Pond Old Borrow Pit Old Quarry Brown’s Pond North Bay Boy Scout North-South Pine Scrub Picnic area Parking Bay GULF Distance (Miles) 2.4 0.8 1.2 1.0 0.9 1.0 0.4 0.3 0.3 1.0 0.3 Wheelchair-accessible trail Multi-use trail Restrooms Wheelchair-accessible P ond Hiking trail h rt B e av e r Trail Pit n’ Br ow il Tra d Ol rro w For Your Safety Bo r Baysho e Bug repellent is advised. Please practice Leave No Trace principles. Call 911 for emergencies. 98 To Navarre
Gulf Islands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Mississippi District Gulf Islands National Seashore West Ship Island Twelve miles south of the Mississippi coastline, West Ship Island is one of the few barrier islands relatively untouched by human development. Transportation to the island is by passenger ferry service or private boat. Ship Island Excursions transports passengers to the island from the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor, which is south of the intersection of U.S. Highways 90 and 49. Ferry service is available March through October, weather permitting. Please help the National Park Service protect this unique island by not littering or disturbing the plant and animal life. Know Before You Go From sunrise to sunset, West Ship Island is open to visitors. Camping is not allowed. The north end of the pier is reserved for passenger ferry docking during its operation. Private boaters can dock at other designated pier areas. Pack light. The only way to get around West Ship Island is by foot, and all beach gear must be carried. No glass containers are allowed on the island. Please practice the Leave No Trace principle of “Pack it in—Pack it out”. Tours Swimming Beach Combing Ranger-led tours of Fort Massachusetts are presented daily during tour boat season (March through October). Be cautious of your footing in dark and slippery places. A section on the Gulf side is reserved for swimmers. Lifeguards may or may not be available. Strong rip currents occur so be safe and don’t swim alone. A hike around the west tip of the island takes about one hour. Visitors can enjoy bird watching, shell collecting, or picture taking. All plants and animals are protected including living shells. Facilities Private Boaters On the north shore you will find the tour boat dock, a ranger station, restrooms, and Fort Massachusetts. A boardwalk, 1/3 of a mile long, crosses from the north shore to the Gulf of Mexico. The first aid station,snack bar, and beach rental stands are open from March to October. Outdoor showers, bathhouse, and shaded picnic pavilions are nearby. Plan your boat trip carefully, and be sure you have enough fuel and supplies. Rangers cannot give or sell gas to private boaters nor can they tow disabled boats back to the mainland. Boats must anchor at least 500 feet outside the designated swim beach on the south side. Know state and federal regulations for the safe operation of private watercraft. pier, a flat wake zone extends ½ mile from the shore and ½ mile from either side of the pier. PWCs and all watercraft are not allowed within the swim beach area on the south shore. For up-to-date information on the use of PWCs go on-line at www.nps.gov/guis. PWCs As of 2006, personal watercraft (PWC) are permitted within the seashore boundary with restrictions. There is a flat wake zone 300 yards from park shorelines. In addition, at the Sea Life Use caution to avoid jellyfish and stingrays. Shuffle your feet while wading in the water to scare stringrays away. If you do get stung from a jellyfish, apply vinegar to the irritated skin. Since sharks inhabit the waters, be alert especially in the mornings and early evenings when sharks feed. Fishing Accessibility Pets Salt-water fishing licenses are required in Mississippi. Purchase licenses before traveling to the island. Be aware of the fish size and possession limits set by the state. All facilities are accessible except for the second level of Fort Massachusetts. Street and beach wheelchairs may be loaned, on a first-come, first-available basis. Pets are not allowed on the ferries, in buildings, or on the swim beach. Service dogs are permitted. Please do not leave pets in cars at the mainland parking lots. Pets kept on private boats are permitted, but must be leashed at all times. Emergency Sun Changing Weather and Surf Emergency assistance may be available at the ranger station. If not, contact uniformed park, ferry, or concession employees for assistance. The sun is very intense. Stay out of the direct sun from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Use high SPF factor sun-block lotion to prevent sunburn. Drink plenty of water. Watch the weather. Storms can quickly form over water. During lightning storms, stay out of the water, off piers, and off the top of the fort. Seek shelter. Rough surf and rip currents are dangerous. For information about the passenger ferry schedule, call Ship Island Excursions 1-228-864-1014 or 1-866-466-7386. Visit on-line at www.msshipisland.com. Gulf Islands National Seashore 1-228-230-4100. Visit on-line at www.nps.gov/guis or follow us on Twitter at @GulfIslandsNPS. E X P E R I E N CE Y O U R AM E R I C A 6/12
Gulf Islands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Mississippi District Visiting Mississippi’s Barrier Islands Mississippi’s Barrier Islands Traveling to the Islands Emergencies Updated 5/2013 Wilderness Areas Plan Ahead and Prepare Camp Softly Travel Lightly E X P E R I E N CE Y O U R AM E R I C A ™
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida & Mississippi Beach Mouse Fun Facts Beach mice live in the sand dunes of Perdido Key and Santa Rosa Island. Conserving their habitat protects the dunes, the dunes in turn protect the houses, condominiums, and hotels along the beach. The dunes are good for the mouse and good for people. Taxonomy Beach mice are subspecies of the old-field mouse (Peromyscus polionotus). There are seven sub-species of beach mice and five of these subspecies are found along the Gulf coast - Alabama, Perdido Key, Santa Rosa, Choctawhatchee, and St. Andrews. Santa Rosa Beach Mouse Perdido Key Beach Mouse Conservation Status All beach mice are federally protected, with the exception of the Santa Rosa beach mouse. Habitat loss from coastal development and hurricanes are the primary reasons these mice have federal and state protective status. Ecology Habitat: Beach dunes and open scrub. Predators: Feral and free roaming cats, which do not belong in a natural setting. Beach mice are particularly easy prey for domestic cats because they have not developed the senses to avoid this predator. Home range size: Average 5000 square meters. Perdido Key Beach Mouse Peromyscus polionotus trissyllepsis A unique beach mouse which is found only on Perdido Key. The mice burrow and dig in the primary, secondary, and scrub dunes of Perdido Key. They are active at night (nocturnal) and eat the seeds of sea oats and other coastal plants. The mouse habitat on Perdido Key is undergoing rapid development as prime ocean-front property. Due to reduced habitat, the Perdido Key beach mouse is in the highest risk category for extinction, thus is protected as a state and federally endangered species. Santa Rosa Beach Mouse Peromyscus polionotus leucocephalus A unique beach mouse that can only be found on Santa Rosa Island, Florida. This mouse burrows and digs in the primary, secondary, and scrub dunes of Santa Rosa Island. They are active at night (nocturnal) and eat the seeds of sea oats and other coastal plants. These beach mice are the least pigmented of the Gulf Coast subspecies and are the only extant beach mouse that is not endangered or threatened. The Santa Rosa beach mouse has the lightest colored fur of all the beach mice. It is pale gray along its back and there is no tail stripe. Gulf Islands National Seashore 1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway Gulf Breeze, Florida (850) 934-2600 www.nps.gov/guis
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Fort Pickens Road Flooding Major sand overwashes can happen even during thunderstorms. Why does the road flood? Santa Rosa is a dynamic barrier island that changes naturally over time. The road was built very low to accommodate vehicle access to the park with minimal disruption to wildlife habitat and natural processes, but it is subject to flooding and overwashes. These overwashes can range from minor instances around high tide, to major events that are impassible for several days. Does the park provide forecasts? We do our best to forecast flooding events and inform visitors. These forecasts are not based on scientific models. Park leaders regularly monitor weather patterns that can impact the road. However, flooding can happen quickly, eliminating our ability to provide forecasts. What to do when the road floods? The park will close the Fort Pickens Area if significant flooding or sand overwashes occur or are expected. Campers should always be prepared to evacuate the area on short notice (within an hour) or shelter-in-place, you may be stranded for several days. If you have an emergency call 911. For the current road status call Fort Pickens Road Hotline (850) 934-2656. www.nps.gov/guis/planyourvisit/tempclosures.htm Jetty Battery Trueman Battery Payne one PENSACOLA Museum y Head Stones For t Fort Pickens Information -wa Fishing Pier Seawall Battery Pensacola k en s R d B AY Pi c Tower Battery Worth Battery Cooper B D Hiking trail Visitor center Restrooms Wheelchair-accessible Ranger station Amphitheater Campground Picnic area a Multi-use trail E N tio na l Sc en i Battery Langdon Trail Swimming Flo r i d a Group Camp Area c Showers C Blackbird Marsh Trail Langdon Beach 500 Meters 2000 Feet Ranger Station and campground registration Drinking water A 0 Parking Campground Store North 0 /GulfIslandsNPS @GulfIslands_NPS Gulf Islands National Seashore 1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway Gulf Breeze, FL 32563 (850) 934-2600 Fort Pickens Road Hotline (850) 934-2656 Emergency 911 Batteries Cullum, Sevier, Van Swearingen GU L F OF ME X IC O Battery 234 ai l e Tr Dun BAE0616
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida & Mississippi Ospreys Need Your Help! Osprey adult on nest Osprey nest and raise their young at Gulf Islands. Disturbance by visitors can frighten the parent osprey off the nest. Consequently, their eggs and chicks can be killed by the exposure to the hot sun or predators like crows and gulls. You can help protect osprey by doing the following: Stay more than 300 yards away from osprey nests during the March – July nesting season. Osprey nests are often 4 feet by 3 feet in size, appearing like large “piles” of sticks in the tops of trees. Ospreys are brown and white hawk-like birds with a six-foot wing span. They are also called “sea hawks.” If an osprey is whistling sharply and circling overhead it is trying to protect its nest and the area should be avoided. Respect posted “Area Closed” signs and stay away from these areas. Thank you for helping to protect the wildlife of these fragile wilderness islands. For more information, please call 228-230-4100 or visit www.nps.gov/guis. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida & Mississippi Help Our Shorebirds! Dan Pancamo Photography Least Terns nesting at Gulf Islands National Seashore Several species of shorebirds nest and raise their chicks at Gulf Islands every year. Human disturbance can cause their nesting efforts to fail. Shorebirds nest in simple shallow depressions on the open beach. Their sand colored eggs and camoflaged chicks are easily destroyed. You can help protect shorebirds by doing the following: Look and listen for nesting birds. Birds that are circling overhead, repeatedly calling and diving are trying to protect their nests. These areas should be avoided. Respect posted “Area Closed” signs. Eggs and chicks blend in with the sand; you may not see them and could step on the eggs and chicks. Make sure you tell your children where the closed areas are located. Petit Bois and Horn Islands are closed to pets year-round. While visiting other islands, pets must be on a leash no longer than six feet. Report any bird nesting activity to park rangers. Thank you for helping to protect these special nesting areas. For some species, it is the only nesting site in Mississippi. For more information, call 228-230-4100 or visit www.nps.gov/guis.
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida and Mississippi Sea Turtles of the Gulf Islands Kemp’s Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) Photo: Victoria Withington, NPS GUIS Federally Endangered, rarest sea turtle, found in both Mississippi and Florida waters, known to nest on Florida District beaches, grows up to 2 feet in length, weighing 100 pounds. Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) Photo: Andy Bruckner, NOAA Federally Endangered, grows up to 4 feet in length, weighing 440 pounds, known to nest on Florida District beaches. Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) Photo: Scott R. Benson, NOAA Federally Endangered, the largest sea turtle, grows to 4-8 feet in length, weighing from 500 to 800 pounds. Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) Photo: Justin Bryars, NPS GUIS Federally Threatened, grows up to 3 feet in length, weighing up to 200 pounds, nests on Florida and Mississippi District beaches. Gulf Islands National Seashore 1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway Gulf Breeze, Florida (850) 934-2600 www.nps.gov/guis Gulf Islands National Seashore 3500 Park Road Ocean Springs, Mississippi (228) 875-9057 www.nps.gov/guis Eggs in the Sand Every year from May through September, female sea turtles crawl out of the waters of the Gulf of Mexico onto the white sand beaches of Gulf Islands National Seashore in search of an undisturbed nesting site. If a good spot is found, the turtle will use its hind legs to dig a vase shaped hole and lay up to 180 white ping pong sized eggs. Sixty to seventy-five days later, after incubating in the warm sand, the nest will erupt with hatchlings. With flippers flailing, each little turtle makes a mad dash to the Gulf. If hatchlings are able to escape predators, survive harsh tropical weather, and avoid manmade hazards, these little hatchlings will eventually return to the same white beaches to start the cycle once again. Photo by Victoria Withington, NPS GUIS Photo by Victoria Withington, NPS GUIS The Danger Sea turtles are vanishing because of the loss of nesting beaches due to beachfront developments and through the entanglement and drowning in floating manmade debris such as abandoned fishing gear. Hatchling sea turtles are attracted to natural light reflecting off the breaking surf onto the beach. Lighting from unnatural sources such as beachfront properties, street lights, and automobiles can disorient hatchling sea turtles leading them away from the Gulf. Disoriented hatchlings often die of exposure to the weather, or fall prey to predators such as ghost crabs, raccoons or birds. How You Can Help • • • • Dispose of litter properly. Litter floating in the water can entangle sea turtles and can also be mistaken for food. Shield your lights. Lights from your boats and campers can disturb nesting sea turtles and disorient hatchlings. Boat responsibly. Throughout the nesting season, female sea turtles swim off the beach waiting to come ashore to nest. Avoid boating at high speeds along the offshore bar along barrier island beaches. Be on alert for sea turtles surfacing to breathe in the path of your boat. Do not disturb nesting. Sea turtles can nest anytime, day or night. If you see a sea turtle nesting, stop and do not approach. Report your observation to a Park Ranger. You may watch from a distance. As you watch, take time to appreciate all the obstacles these magnificent creatures have to overcome to return to these beaches.
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Sea Grass Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida and Mississippi Seagrasses at the Seashore Manatee Grass (Syringodium filiforme) Turtle Grass (Thalassia testudinum) Shoal Grass (Halodule wrightii) What is Seagrass? They are flowering plants that grow underwater in shallow waters on the north sides of the barrier islands. Named for their grass-like appearance, seagrass has a strong root structure that helps them withstand currents and waves on the sandy sea floor. Why is Seagrass Important? Seagrass meadows serve as nursery grounds, and shelter for shrimp, crabs and many species of fish. A variety of birds, sea turtles and other wildlife depend upon them to live. Seagrass also promotes water clarity. The plants’ extensive system of roots and rhizomes help stabilize bottom sediments. The Damages Propeller Scars in seagrass bed Blowhole created by a propeller Seagrass habitat is declining. Seagrasses grow in shallow coastal waters and can be damaged by boaters with wakes, anchors, propellers, and fishing equipment that disturb and scar the seabed. Scaring exposes the seagrass meadow roots allowing waves and currents to erode the seabed, resulting in the loss of the seagrass habitat. You can Help - Boating Tips  Know the waters well and know where you plan to put your boat.  Look before you anchor, Do not drop your anchor in a seagrass habitat.  If you do run into a sea grass flat, stop immediately and tilt your engine.  If you DO get in too shallow, stop your motor and trim it up.  “Push, Pull, Drift, and Troll” your boat to deeper water.  Never try to power off, because that creates more damage. Gulf Islands National Seashore 1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway Gulf Breeze, Florida 32563 (850) 934-2600 3500 Park Road Ocean Springs, MS 39564-9709 228-230-4100 www.nps.gov/guis
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida and Mississippi Your Speed Matters! Each spring, shorebirds like least terns, fly thousands of miles from South America to nest and raise their young on the beaches of Gulf Islands National Seashore. Some species are threatened or endangered such as the snowy plovers. Snowy plover adults and chicks frequent the road and shoulders to feed on insects. Least terns get hit flying low over the road defending their nests from humans. Observe the Speed Limits! Sadly, in 2010, 155 birds were hit on park roads, 117 in 2011, 29 in 2012, and in 2013, 94 birds were killed. Help us protect these fantastic fliers. Gulf Islands Shorebirds Least tern and snowy plover chicks often wander outside of posted areas and into the road way. They will usually be accompanied by an adult bird. Can you spot all three of the most threatened shorebirds during your visit to Gulf Islands National Seashore?  Snowy Plover  Least Tern  Black Skimmer Gulf Islands National Seashore 1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway Gulf Breeze, Florida (850) 934-2600 www.nps.gov/guis
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida & Mississippi Gulf Islands Wilderness Horn Island. Gulf Islands Wilderness Wilderness is an indispensable part of the American story. Native Americans depended on the bounty of wilderness for survival while western explorers were inspired by its untamed beauty. But after just 200 years, the essential wildness of America virtually disappeared. As Americans realized that the long-term health and welfare of their nation was at risk, a vision for conservation emerged.  What is wilderness? Wilderness is self-willed nature where one can retreat from civilization, reconnect with the Earth, and find healing, meaning and significance. Wilderness retains its primeval character without man-made improvements and modern inventions, where man himself is a visitor.  Are all wild lands wilderness? No. Wilderness areas are federal lands designated by Congress to be part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. This designation provides the highest level of permanent protection to “…secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness.”  What makes Gulf Islands Wilderness special? Horn and Petit Bois Islands of Gulf Islands National Seashore are largely undeveloped, wild coastal landscapes where modern human impacts are very subtle. In 1978, Horn and Petit Bois Islands off the coast of Mississippi were designated as Gulf Islands Wilderness, as a place of solitude, self-reliance and refuge from modern-day civilization. They are part of our wilderness legacy. Forever wild! “The idea of wilderness needs no defense. It only needs more defenders.” – Edward Abbey Over 109 million acres have been included in the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS). Within NWPS, the National Park Service protects over 40 million acres of designated wilderness across the country. Wilderness is a rare and special place. For more information, visit www.wilderness.net Petit Bois Island Be a defender of Wilderness! Gulf Islands National Seashore is proud to have two wilderness islands, Horn and Petit Bois. Many visitors welcome wilderness, not only for self-reliant, challenging recreational experiences, but as a haven, a refuge from our fast-paced, developed society – a place to reconnect with oneself and with nature. Gulf Islands Wilderness is a place to not look at nature but to look from nature. Help preserve Gulf Islands Wilderness by preparing for your trip ahead of time. There are no facilities on these wilderness barrier islands. It is important to familiarize yourself with the plants and wildlife, changing weather patterns, and lay of the land before your trip. This is your wilderness. Practice wilderness ethics and Leave No Trace: • • • • • • • Plan ahead and prepare Travel & camp on durable surfaces Dispose of waste properly Leave what you find as you found it Comply with Park rules on campfires Be considerate of other visitors Respect wildlife Gulf Islands National Seashore 3500 Park Road Ocean Springs, MS (228) 230-4100 www.nps.gov/guis

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