Fort Pickens

Shutdown taking toll on national parks

Shutdown taking toll on national parks

The barricade at the entrance to Gulf Islands National Seashore says it all. On a beautiful sun-splashed, 70-degree January afternoon, when visitors would normally be out enjoying all that Gulf Islands National Seashore has to offer, there is silence instead, save for the sound of a bird chirping or the waves washing on shore. Read […]

Outdoors group stresses the importance of leaving no trace

Outdoors group stresses the importance of leaving no trace

It’s a phrase that is repeated often. Take only photographs. Leave only footprints. The Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers did their best to drive that point home at an event at Fort Pickens along Gulf Islands National Seashore earlier this month. Read the full article in the Nov. 29 issue of Navarre Press. Visit www.navarrepress.com/subscribe […]

Leave No Trace event coming to Fort Pickens

Leave No Trace event coming to Fort Pickens

The Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers and Ocean Hour are hosting a special day of learning at Gulf Islands National Seashore on Saturday. The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Fort Pickens Discovery Center. Read the full article in the Nov. 15 issue of Navarre Press. Visit www.navarrepress.com/subscribe to view […]

Fort Pickens a stopover on 5,000-mile kayak trip

Fort Pickens a stopover on 5,000-mile kayak trip

Steve Chard is late setting up his tent at the Fort Pickens campground on a Sunday evening. After arriving in Florida by kayak earlier in the day, he got caught up in watching the Blue Angels fly. Read the full article in the Nov. 1 issue of Navarre Press. Visit www.navarrepress.com/subscribe to view subscription options. […]

Ferry service set to begin this week

Ferry service set to begin this week

The long wait is almost over. Ferry Service in Pensacola Bay is scheduled to begin Friday after the National Park Service and Gulf Coast Maritime Services Inc. signed a contract for the operation of Pensacola Bay Cruises. “We’re excited to start working with Gulf Coast Maritime Services Inc. and begin the Pensacola Bay Cruises service,” […]

Docked once again

Docked once again

Pelican Perch and Turtle Runner, the two boats that will be used to anchor Gulf Island National Seashore’s ferry service in Pensacola Bay, are unwrapped and out of dry dock. But the boats won’t be leaving the dock just yet. Read the full article in the May 17 issue of Navarre Press. Visit www.navarrepress.com/subscribe to […]

West Navarre Intermediate students sweet talk to success

West Navarre Intermediate students sweet talk to success

West Navarre Intermediate School fourth and fifth grade students polished up their public speaking skills Friday as they competed in the 4-H Tropicana Public Speaking Contest.  The school saw 28 students deliver speeches on a variety of topics to a gathering of classmates and a panel of local judges. Read the full article in the April […]

Youth Corps gets the ax for this summer

Youth Corps gets the ax for this summer

A popular summer job program is on the chopping block. Money set aside for the Youth Conservation Corps won’t be available in the Southeast region this year, the government choosing instead to use that money to make repairs at national parks damaged by hurricanes that rolled through last year. Read the full article in the […]

Ferry service close to its starting point

Ferry service close to its starting point

Large piles of dirt rest where a future dock facility will one day sit in downtown Pensacola. The two ferry boats, Pelican Perch and Turtle Runner, are still wrapped and dry docked. Gulf Islands National Seashore will soon have its ferry service in Pensacola Bay in operation, and it will be the culmination of what […]

Government shutdown forces Gulf Islands to temporarily close

Government shutdown forces Gulf Islands to temporarily close

As cars streamed down Fort Pickens Road late Saturday morning, they were greeted by a couple of park rangers who politely told them enjoying Gulf Islands National Seashore wasn’t an option on this mild January day. With the United States Government in shutdown mode, Gulf Islands wasn’t open for business either. It’s the first closure […]

Gulf Islands National Seashore in USA Today’s 10 Best

Gulf Islands National Seashore in USA Today’s 10 Best

USA Today has named Gulf Islands National Seashore the 10Best Readers’ Choice 2018 Best Florida Attraction. This top spot was determined by a period of public voting on destinations nominated by an expert panel. The top 10 were published to 10Best.com, where Gulf Islands took the top spot over contenders including Disney World and the […]

Politics mire Gulf drilling discussion 8 years after oil spill

Politics mire Gulf drilling discussion 8 years after oil spill

When equipment failures on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico went from leaks to a full-blown explosion, many living along the coastline felt the impact. Navarre Beach was no exception. Steve Herring owned several rental properties along Navarre Beach, and he said the cancellations started rolling in even before the oil […]

Fort Pickens area back in business

Fort Pickens area back in business

Hurricane Nate closed the Fort Pickens area for more than a month. It reopened Nov. 30, and it didn’t take long for visitors to return and activities to resume as normal. “The second the gate went up, we had visitors in Fort Pickens,” said Brent Everitt, who handles public affairs for Gulf Islands National Seashore. […]

Reptiles drawn back to pier despite multiple run-ins with fishing hooks

Reptiles drawn back to pier despite multiple run-ins with fishing hooks

Okra, a juvenile green sea turtle, has had a rough year. After sustaining serious head trauma that exposed part of her skull, Okra ended up on the end of a fisherman’s line on the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. The hook was caught in her right shoulder. Fortunately, she was rescued and sent to the Gulfarium […]

Visiting Gulf Islands will cost a little more in 2018

Visiting Gulf Islands will cost a little more in 2018

Two years after its first price increase in more than a decade, the entrance fee for vehicles into Fort Pickens will increase by $5 starting in January. The rise in price is a result of the nationwide entrance fee structure that was established three years ago by the National Park Service. The rate for vehicles […]

Gulf Islands National Seashore closing all areas ahead of storm

Gulf Islands National Seashore closing all areas ahead of storm

Due to the threat of a Tropical Storm Nate becoming a hurricane this weekend, Gulf Islands National Seashore will close all areas of the park, including Fort Pickens and all of the Mississippi Islands. The national seashore areas will close tonight. All campers at Fort Pickens and the Davis Bayou Campgrounds must evacuate by noon […]

Arcadia shares Santa Rosa’s Civil War heritage

Arcadia shares Santa Rosa’s Civil War heritage

Visitors to Arcadia Mill, a historical site in Milton, got a lesson in Santa Rosa’s Civil War heritage Saturday during the annual Sawmills and Skirmishes Tour. Tour guides dressed in period attire led groups along the raised boardwalk that twists its way through the Arcadia Mill archeological site. The site still bears some of the […]

Sea turtles rescued in Navarre make full recovery

Sea turtles rescued in Navarre make full recovery

Eight sea turtles made their scuttle to freedom Tuesday on beaches at Fort Pickens as the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center released the rehabilitated reptiles back into the Gulf of Mexico. These turtles had sustained a variety of injuries, largely from fishing hooks. Five of the eight were rescued off the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. Three others […]

Large-scale project clearing way for cleaner national seashore

Large-scale project clearing way for cleaner national seashore

It’s hard to find a silver lining in something as disastrous as an oil spill. Gulf Islands National Seashore Ecologist Kelly Irick will tell you she has found one in the fact that BP money is funding a nearly $11 million Beach Enhancement and Asphalt Removal Project in the Santa Rosa area of the national […]

Future of Fort Pickens Road at mercy of Mother Nature

Future of Fort Pickens Road at mercy of Mother Nature

Gulf Islands National Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown watched the track of Hurricane Irma closely. He does it every time there is a major storm because he knows it could signal the end for Fort Pickens Road. “The roads we manage are subject to damage, if not complete destruction,” Brown said. “We’ve seen it happen again […]

Local racers go ultra

Local racers go ultra

In case marathons aren’t enough of a challenge for those who love such a thing, ultramarathons are climbing in popularity in today’s fitness world. While marathons challenge the runner to trek an amazing 26 miles, ultramarathons are defined as anything that goes beyond that. Fifty miles is the most common distance, while other races cover […]

Gulf Islands program shines light on history

Gulf Islands program shines light on history

Soldier re-enactors walked around dressed in attire they would have worn in the 1860s. Students who have spent the summer working with the Youth Conservation Corps spoke to the crowds that gathered around them about the history of the fort as the sun set behind them. Rain eventually did roll in, but it didn’t put […]

Candlelight Program

The Gulf Islands National Seashore Candlelight Program at Fort Pickens will start at 6:30 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m. Park rangers, volunteers, and Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) members will guide visitors through Fort Pickens with stops featuring unique stories. Visitors are encouraged to a flashlight. The program is free, but there is an entrance […]

Volunteers are key in Gulf Islands cleanup

Volunteers are key in Gulf Islands cleanup

Gulf Islands National Seashore offers visitors opportunities to see wildlife and enjoy water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and fishing. Keeping the seashore looking great isn’t easy, however, and the efforts to do so go on throughout the year. “It’s a never-ending job,” Gulf Islands National Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown said. “We’ll do a […]

Rain doesn’t put damper on YCC experience

Rain doesn’t put damper on YCC experience

Gulf Breeze student Grant Landry is a Boy Scout, so he is used to being outdoors. On that note, it made sense for him to take a shot at landing a job with the Youth Conservation Corps. “We use the campsites a lot (at Gulf Islands) and this was a chance to do work around […]

At thirteen years old she’s the dive master

At thirteen years old she’s the dive master

At 8 years old, Taryn Felde had taken her first diving lesson. She had her first scuba certification by 10, and by age 11, she had performed her first dive rescue. A year later she was officially recognized as a certified master scuba diver, the highest certification she can achieve at her age. All told […]

Jenkins career with National Park Service better than he ever imagined

Jenkins career with National Park Service better than he ever imagined

R.W. Jenkins grew up in South Carolina and has always had a love for national parks. He talked about that love on a late spring morning while sitting inside his office at the Gulf Islands National Seashore Headquarters. “I visited parks when I was younger,” Jenkins said. “I’ve always been excited about forts and the […]

Ferry service aims to provide more than transit

Ferry service aims to provide more than transit

West Ship Island in Mississippi was used as a model when plans went into motion to bring a ferry service to Pensacola to transport people to and from Fort Pickens and Pensacola Beach. “We relied an awful lot on the history and knowledge of their successful ferry service in designing the service here,” said Dan […]

History comes alive at black powder demonstrations

History comes alive at black powder demonstrations

Caleb Pascoe is at historic Fort Pickens taking practice shots with a black powder rifle in preparation for a demonstration later that morning. A family walks by while touring the fort on a sunny Saturday in April and asks Pascoe, dressed in the uniform Union soldiers wore during the Civil War, if it would be […]

Boats that will be used for ferry service arrive in Pensacola

Boats that will be used for ferry service arrive in Pensacola

As the two ferry boats made their way into the bay late Saturday afternoon, the excitement began to build. Gulf Islands National Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown has been waiting a long time for the boats to arrive. And while the ferry service from Pensacola to Fort Pickens and Pensacola Beach won’t begin until next spring, […]