Ilka Cole, Chief, Media Operations
96th Test Wing Public Affairs
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The 96th Test Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. Scott Cain, ordered the closure of Eglin’s East Pass Beach Area property located adjacent to the Marler Bridge effective May 8.
The closure was ordered due to increased activity at EPBA, leading to unsafe conditions, unauthorized commercial activities on federal property, and to protect the Eglin range, a national asset.
Areas of concern include:
- Incompatible and unsafe blend of beach goers and moving vessels along the shoreline
- Illegal and unsafe vehicular traffic: travelling the wrong direction on the shoulder of U.S. Highway 98
- Lack of adequate parking control: vehicles parking on the shoulder of U.S. 98 and EPBA
- Illegal commercial activity taking place by water-bound vendors
- Inability to fund adequate solutions to safety and liability issues
As a result of these unauthorized activities, barriers were installed to prevent unsafe parking on the shoulder of U.S. 98.
Eglin maintains three other beach access points on Okaloosa Island in addition to the EPBA – the Eglin Beach Club, the Matterhorn, and Princess Beach. Part of allowing that to occur is ensuring, to the greatest extent possible, the safety of the users, as well as ensuring illegal commercial activity does not occur on federal land.
We are committed to being a good neighbor and will continue to allow mission compatible recreation throughout the reservation to the greatest extent possible.
“I appreciate your cooperation with ensuring the safety of our community while protecting the vital national security missions we execute on Eglin AFB and the reservation,” said Cain.