Sequestration Affects Gulf Islands National Seashore
Contact: Stever McCoy, 850-934-2604
As of March 1, sequestration imposed an across-the-board five percent cut to the Gulf Islands National Seashore fiscal year 2013 budget.This resulted in a $359,000 reduction that must be absorbed in the remaining seven months of the fiscal year. The Seashore will not have to furlough any permanent staff, but will hire 10 fewer seasonal employees and several vacant permanent positions will remain unfilled.The impacts to visitor services will include closing visitor centers several days per week, closing some restroom facilities, shorter hours for lifeguards, fewer ranger-led programs, and reduced grounds and facilities maintenance.The park will implement a pack it in/pack it out policy at most locations, eliminating trash cans.Sand removal from road shoulder bike lanes will occur less frequently and the Seashore will no longer contract sand removal after storms, relying solely on park staff and equipment to clear roads.This may result in longer road closures following storms.Some of these changes have already occurred, and others will take effect as seasonal operations are implemented.The new visitor center schedule will take effect April 7.
"The impacts of these cuts are real and will be felt by our visitors and surrounding communities," stated Superintendent Dan Brown. "Gulf Islands is still one of our country's crown jewels, and we encourage people to come and enjoy their national park.Our staff always strives to provide the best possible service, and we ask for visitors' understanding as they encounter changes to some park operations."With over 5 million annual visitors, Gulf Islands is one of the top 10 most frequented national parks in the country, exceeding Yellowstone, Yosemite, or the Grand Canyon.
Visitor Center Hours - effective April 7
Fort Pickens:daily 9 am - 5 pm
Naval Live Oaks:Mon. - Fri., 8:30 am - 4:30 pm (closed Sat. - Sun.)
Fort Barrancas:Fri. - Sun., 9:30 am - 4:45 pm (closed Mon. - Thurs.)
Davis Bayou:Fri. - Tues., 8:30 am - 4:30 pm (closed Wed. - Thurs.)
Fort Massachusetts:fort open daily, self-guided (visitor center closed)
-Little Langdon picnic area (Bayside)
Santa Rosa/Opal Beach
-Opal North (Sound side)
-Picnic shelter clusters A, D, E (Gulfside)
-Naval Live Oaks Compound picnic shelter (Bayside)
Perdido Key/Johnson Beach
For additional information, call the Naval Live Oaks Visitor Center at (850) 934-2600 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/guis to view the park's detailed sequestration plan.
Did You Know?
In 1828, John Q. Adams designated the Naval Live Oaks Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore as the first United States tree farm. Live oak trees are known for their incredible density and resistance to disease. They provided durable wood for the construction of early naval vessels.