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Contact: Brent Everitt, 850-934-2600
Ocean Springs, Miss. – Gulf Islands National Seashore announced today that the small island just west of the Pascagoula shipping channel has officially been added to the list of Domestic Names by the Board on Geographic Names. Recognizing its location and source the island has been named West Petit Bois Island by the board at the recommendation of the National Park Service (NPS). The island developed over time through dredging activities and has unofficially been known as disposal area #10 and Sand Island in the past.
Listing the island allows the NPS and other federal agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to label the island on official maps and navigational charts. The NPS hopes that through these activities increased awareness of the island as part of Gulf Islands National Seashore will improve. “Officially listing West Petit Bois Island enables the national seashore to better manage the island along with the other islands which make up the national seashore,” said Superintendent Dan Brown.
When Gulf Islands National Seashore was established, the State of Mississippi donated the submerged lands within the park boundary to the NPS. Any new islands that emerge from submerged lands owned by the NPS are owned by the NPS as part of the national seashore whether the islands form naturally or through dredging activities.
Barrier islands along the Mississippi coast move east to west at a rate of nearly 200 feet per year. In 1950, Petit Bois Island reached the Pascagoula shipping channel. Over time, about 2.5 miles of the island have “disappeared” into the shipping channel and has been subsequently dredged out. This dredged material created what is now known as West Petit Bois Island. As a part of the national seashore, all laws, regulations, and policies which apply to the national seashore lands apply at West Petit Bois Island as well.
The U.S. Board on Geographic Names is a Federal body created in 1890 and established in its present form by Public Law in 1947 to maintain uniform geographic name usage throughout the Federal Government. The Board comprises representatives of Federal agencies concerned with geographic information, population, ecology, and management of public lands. Sharing its responsibilities with the Secretary of the Interior, the Board promulgates official geographic feature names with locative attributes as well as principles, policies, and procedures governing the use of domestic names, foreign names, Antarctic names, and undersea feature names.
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/GulfIslands_NPS, and 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.