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Contact: Brent Everitt, 850-934-2612
In Florida, Gulf Islands National Seashore officials will close Fort Pickens Area this evening at 8:00 pm to all public use due to the potential of tropical conditions to impact the park. All visitors currently in these areas of the park are being instructed to leave at this time. A mandatory evacuation of the Fort Pickens Campground will begin at 9:00 am, Tuesday, June 20, 2017. The Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and the Perdido Key Areas will remain open at this time, but their status may change with conditions.
In Mississippi, national seashore officials have closed the national seashore islands including East and West Ship, Horn, Cat, Petit Bois, and West Petit Bois Islands to all public use due to the potential of tropical conditions to impact the park. All visitors currently at the islands are being instructed to leave at this time. The park’s Davis Bayou Area and campground remain open, but their status may change with conditions.
When announcing this closure, Superintendent Daniel R. Brown said, "with tropical conditions possibly taking aim at the coast, we have to begin now in order to safeguard human life." The National Park Service has to move visitors off the exposed barrier islands and close down all the island operations. "Right now, we have to close the park for the safety of our visitors and our employees", Brown said.
Park status updates will be posted online at www.nps.gov/GulfIslands, www.Facebook.com/GulfIslandsNPS, and www.Twitter.com/GulfIslandsNPS. Gulf Islands National Seashore will reopen after the storm has passed and the staff has an opportunity to mitigate any hazards resulting from the storm.
About Gulf Islands National Seashore: Created in 1971, the national seashore 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. Visit us at www.nps.gov/guis, on Facebook www.facebook.com/GulfIslandsNPS, Twitter www.twitter.com/GulfIslandsNPS, Instagram www.Instagram.com/GulfIslandsNPS.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice and Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice.