COMPENDIUM of designations, closures, permit requirements and other restrictions imposed under the discretionary authority by the Superintendent of Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Section 1.5 Closures and Public Use Limits
The following fortifications and related structures are closed to all public use and access in accordance with the following conditions:
(a) The interiors of all forts and batteries are closed to public access at all times, except when an NPS employee is on duty at the location and/or the gate to the fort or battery is opened and/or by the posting of signs indicating the hours when the site is open to the public.
(b) The area within the fence surrounding Batteries Cullum and Sevier is closed to the public at all times.
(c) The tower within the fence adjacent to Battery 234 is closed to public access at all times.
(d)Portions of Battery Pensacola located in Fort Pickens as designated by posted signs.
(e) The Barbette Level of Fort Massachusetts’s (2nd level, grassy mounds of the fort)is closed beyond established walkways and the barbette tier of Ft. Pickens south of the tower and flag bastions is closed to the public.
(f) The parapets of all forts are closed to the public.
(g) The following areas are closed from sunset to sunrise:
Determination: These closures are necessary to protect the historic fabric and integrity of fortifications and related structures, and to protect the public from areas which have inherent dangers and may be hazardous to the public in low light situations or when unsupervised by knowledgeable individuals.
The following locations are critical habitat used by shorebirds for nesting, loafing, or foraging and are closed to all public use and access as indicated below:
The following locations are used by nesting osprey and bald eagle, which are subject to human disturbance, and these areas are closed to all public use and access as indicated below:
(a) Osprey nesting on Petit Bois Island, West Petit Bois Island (AKA Sand), Horn Island, Ship Island (formerly known as West Ship & East Ship Islands), NPS-owned portion of Cat Island, and Davis Bayou in Mississippi; and in Florida, Santa Rosa Island, Perdido Key Island, which is designated by posted signs from March 1, through July 31.
(b) Eagle nesting on Petit Bois Island, West Petit Bois Island (AKA Sand), Horn Island, Ship Island (formerly known as West Ship & East Ship Islands), NPS-owned portion of Cat Island, and Davis Bayou in Mississippi; and in Florida Santa Rosa Island, Perdido Key Island, which is designated by posted signs from Oct 1, through May 15.
(c) For those areas that are not posted but any active osprey or eagle nest is present then the area within 300 yards of each osprey/eagle nest which contains adult or juvenile osprey or eagle is closed to all public use unless the nest was created in an area that has shown consistent human use (e.g. parking lot). Park construction or land clearing is prohibited within the 330-foot buffer of an active eagle nest as outlined in the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act..
Determination: These closures are necessary to protect osprey and bald eagle adults, eggs, and juveniles. These birds are subject to human disturbance which causes the adults to leave the nests allowing for eggs and chicks to perish from overheating and dehydration. Less restrictive measures would permit public access to areas close enough to disturb these birds and resulting in a high probability of the loss of wildlife. Osprey are now known to nest at any time of the year as the weather permits, and area around nests can be temporarily closed when deemed appropriate. Eagle dates has been updated to be consistent with federal regulations outlined in the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Osprey nests are no longer protected by state statutes, and do not require any closures.
A Sand dune is a hill of sand built by either wind or water flow. Dunes occur in different shapes and sizes, formed by interaction with the flow of air or water. GUIS has dunes running parallel to the shoreline directly inland from the beach. In most cases, the dunes are important in protecting the land against potential ravages by storm waves from the sea.
(a) Access to the beaches on the north and south sides of Johnson Beach road is prohibited except at the designated boardwalks and identified access points.
(b) All the sand dunes in the Perdido Key Area located from the turnaround of Johnson Beach Road to the Pensacola Pass.
(c) The sand dunes north and south of Highway 399 through the Santa Rosa area.
(d) The sand dunes north and south of the Fort Pickens road.
(e) Any other relic dunes that are designated by posted signs for restoration recovery.
All beaches, (from the north to the south shores of the Santa Rosa Island, Perdido Key, Naval Live Oaks, Okaloosa, Petit Bois Island, Horn Island, West Petit Bois Island (AKA Sand), Ship Island (formerly known as West Ship & East Ship Islands), and NPS-owned portion of Cat Island, any waters exterior of visitor’s vessel’s; and the Fort Pickens Fishing Pier and Ship Island (formerly known as West Ship & East Ship Islands) pier are closed to the possession of all types of glass containers.
The following waters are closed to certain types of propulsion motors, as indicated below:
(a) The lakes, ponds, and lagoons of Petit Bois, Horn Island, West Petit Bois Island (AKA Sand), Ship Island (formerly known as West Ship & East Ship Islands), and NPS-owned portion of Cat Island are closed to the use of all motorized vessels, (combustion and electric) except that vessels with motors are not prohibited if the motor(s) are turned off and tilted up so as to be out of the water, or removed from the transom or gunnels.
(b) The posted lagoons of the Perdido Key area within Big Lagoon adjacent to Spanish Point and Langley Point are closed to all combustion engines, except that vessels with motors are not prohibited if the motor(s) are turned off and tilted up so as to be out of the water, or removed from the transom or gunnels. (Paddling, poling, and electric trolling motors are permitted)
No more than 5 boats may raft together and there must be at least 100 feet of distance between each raft of vessels.
Determination: Operating a vessel over 5mph or at such a speed as to create a wake represents an unsafe activity at these locations due to the number of vessels and swimmers which congregate in these areas. Less restrictive measures would not provide the degree of safety to the public which is reasonable and expected. The 100 feet distance between rafted vessels allows emergency personnel and vessels to respond in the event of a medical or other type of emergencies.
All waters within the boundaries of the National Seashore are closed to the intentional grounding of commercial and any other non-recreational vessels, except in time of emergency, without specific authorization by the Superintendent. An emergency is defined as "a period of time when the captain of a vessel is in immediate danger of losing that vessel".
Use of Segways - Personal Transporters for America the Beautiful Interagency Access Pass Holders
(b) Use of Segways by persons with disabilities is permitted subject to the following allowances: on boardwalks, designated non-wilderness hiking trails and other established footpaths, bike paths and fishing piers.
(c) Use of Segways by persons with disabilities is not permitted: indoors, on roadways, backcountry areas off-designated trails, wetlands, beaches, dunes, federally designated wilderness areas (on and off trail), on fortifications, and other sensitive natural and cultural environments.
(d) Speed may not exceed five miles per hour.
(e) Segway users must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and cyclists
(f) America the Beautiful Interagency Access pass Visitors using Segways must operate in a safe manner to prevent personal injuries and resource damage and are encouraged to wear helmets.
All roadways, beaches, trails, boardwalks within the boundaries of the National Seashore are closed to the use of UTV/ATV type vehicles. Exception to the use of UTV’s in the campground is for persons with ADA mobility impairments which will allow for access to campground facilities. Registered UTV’s may only be operated on paved or hardened surfaces located within the campground.
(a) All state registered slow moving vehicles & state registered golf carts that are properly equipped (brakes, reliable steering apparatus, safe tires, rearview mirror, red reflectorized warning devises in both the front and rear, turn signals, headlights, brake lights, and a windshield) may operate only on the Ft. Pickens Rd.
Determination: 36 CFR designates a golf cart or UTV as a vehicle. UTVs may not be operated within the seashore due to public and environmental safety. The campgrounds at Fort Pickens during the spring/summer/fall months have approximately 150 RV/Travel-trailers, 30 tent sites, and about 500 people on site to include young children and elderly. The campground will have many children riding bicycles, and people walking to different destinations during all hours of the day or night. The utilization of these non-registered or registered UTV’s mixed with the activities of the park creates the potential hazard of seriously injuring visitors or creating environmental damage, and/or property damage. These types of vehicles have a tendency to be operated off road creating damage to trails, sand dunes, and wetlands. This restriction provides protection for the public and the resources of the park. The exception to this is for on duty Gulf Island National Seashore employees utilizing them for administrative purposes in the campgrounds and to cross roadways to access beach access points to accomplish park specific duties; and to meet universal ADA requirements for persons with ADA mobility impairments which will allow for access to campground facilities.
The following locations are used for operational functions and are closed to the public at all times, except for the delivery of supplies and materials or on other official business.
(a) Horn Island pier: the pier and boat hoist at Horn Island are closed to docking of private vessels.
The following locations are closed to the public at the times indicated below:
(a) The Davis Bayou Visitor Center area, including adjacent parking lots, access roads, and the visitor center pier from sunset until 8:00 a.m.
(b) The Davis Bayou picnic area and Robert McGhee Road are closed to the public from sunset to 6:00 a.m. Exempt from this closure are registered campers.
(c) Ship Island (formerly known as West Ship & East Ship Islands) are closed to all visitors and visitor’s vessels from sunset to sunrise.
(d) The Naval Live Oaks area, Headquarters/administrative offices, all picnic areas north and south of hwy 98, and the NLO Youth Group camping area, including adjacent parking lots and access roads, from sunset until 8:00 a.m. Exempt from this are those parties issued a camping or special use permit for the Naval Live Oaks Youth Group camping area north of U.S. Highway 98.
(e) The Opal Beach facilities, including adjacent parking lots and access roads, from sunset until 8:00 a.m.
(f) No loitering from Sunset to sunrise in parking lots along Hwy 399 and/or the Ft. Pickens access road. (Beach Access numbers 17A,19A,32A,33A,34A,B,C,D,E; & 36A,(AKA parking lot numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,21&22)
(g) The Okaloosa area, from sunset until 8:00 a.m.
(h) The Johnson Beach automatic access road gate closes at 8:00 p.m. but visitors already in this section of the park can stay till 9:00 p.m. The area is closed from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. from March 1 to Oct. 31st.
(i) The Johnson Beach area is closed from 6:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. during the winter months from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28th.
(j) The one-way loop road that begins near the Chasefield Plantation Cemetery and provides access to Batteries 234 and Cooper, from sunset until 8:00 a.m.
(k) The Fort Pickens visitor center access road and parking lots, from sunset until 8:00 a.m.
(l) The north side of the Ft. Pickens Ranger station/Lifesaving building’s 3-parking spots designated for visitors from sunset until 8:00 a.m.
(m) The Fort Pickens automatic access road gate, fishing pier area is closed from 8:00 p.m. but visitors already in this section of the park can stay till 9:00 p.m. The Ft. Pickens’ area is closed from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. from March 1 to Oct. 31st. Exempt from this closure are registered campers in the Fort Pickens Campground.
(n) The Fort Pickens automatic access road gate, fishing pier area is closed from 6:00 pm until 5:00 a.m. during the winter months from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28th. Exempt from this closure are registered campers in the Fort Pickens Campground.
(o) NPS-owned portion of Cat Island is closed to all motor vehicle traffic and is for primitive non-motorized recreational use. Exception to this is GUIS administrative vehicles and property owners with deeded easements for vehicle use.
Fishing by the use of bow and/or arrow or spear guns, or Hawaiian slings is prohibited in all the waters of the Seashore.
The following areas are closed to the use and possession of pole spears and gigs utilized for floundering, except that such devices may be on board vessels when stowed away and not available for immediate use. Exception to this is for individuals that have a valid park permit to obtain Lion Fish.
(a) In the Fort Pickens area, the shore and waters adjacent to the Pensacola Bay shoreline adjacent to the fishing pier from the first rock jetty west of the fishing pier to 200 feet east of the Ferry pier designated by the east end of the concrete sea wall
(b) Within the designated swim beaches at Opal Beach, Langdon Beach, Johnson Beach, and Ship Island (formerly known as West ship & East Ship Islands).
(c) At Ship Island (formerly known as West Ship & East Ship Islands), within 300 feet of the pier.
Fishing from public boat docks and piers is not allowed in the following areas:
(a) The Fort Pickens ferry pier is closed to fishing and netting,
(b) The Davis Bayou boat ramp finger piers and the Ship Island (formerly known as West Ship & East Ship Islands) pier are closed to fishing and netting.
Determination: The primary purpose of the docks and piers at Ship Island (formerly known as West ship & East Ship Islands) and Davis Bayou is the passage of persons to and from boat(s) and land.
The use of generators and the erecting of structures such as tents, canopies, tarps, or any other shelters larger than a beach umbrella are prohibited on the Fort Pickens Public Fishing Pier.
The Fort.Pickens Public Fishing Pier is restricted to the use of 2 poles per fisherman or 1 pole and 1 cast net.
The Fort Pickens Public Fishing Pier is closed to the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages and smoking products of all sources.
Kite surfing (board riding propelled by large wind-driven kite-like objects) is prohibited in the Florida and Mississippi District each year from April 1 through September 1 in the following areas:
(a) Fort Pickens Area: from the eastern boundary of the Fort Pickens Area to the Pensacola Pass on the Gulf of Mexico including the water area 200 meters (650 ft) offshore and from the eastern boundary to the Fort Pickens Ranger Station pier on the Pensacola Bay including the water area with 200 meters (about 650 ft) of the mean high tide mark.
(b) Santa Rosa Area: all NPS lands between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach, and the adjacent water areas in the Gulf of Mexico and Santa Rosa Sound, within 200 meters (about 650 ft) of the mean high tide marks
(c) Perdido Key area: All NPS lands at Perdido Key and the adjacent water areas in the Gulf of Mexico and Big Lagoon, within 200 meters (about 650 ft) of the mean high tide marks,
(d) Petit Bois, Horn, West Petit Bois (AKA Sand), Ship Island (formerly known as West Ship & East Ship Islands) including the water area 200 meters (650 ft) offshore.
Determination: Objects of this size, configuration, and movement are known to start, frighten, and disturb birds causing disruption of normal feeding, reproduction and nesting behavior. Several species, including threatened shore nesting species such as black skimmer, least tern, and snowy plover are vulnerable to this type of disturbance at Gulf Islands National Seashore. As a result, use of these devices essentially closes and constricts available habitat to bird nesting and feeding. This precludes full use of available habitat, which is considered to be prime habitat for nesting birds. In addition, the long attached lines and great forces associated with kite surfing and the poor control the operator has over the movement of the kite poses a hazard to park visitors using these beaches during this high-visitation time of year
Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Gulf Islands National Seashore boundaries is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.
Balloons shall not be brought, displayed, or released.
Section 1.6 Permits
A valid permit issued by the Superintendent is required for the following activities consistent with applicable legislation, federal regulations, and administrative policies. (See 36 CFR 1.6 for types of permits and 2.50 Special Events)
(a) Groups of 25 or more people participating in First Amendment activities such as distribution and/or sale of printed matter, political speeches, religious services, public demonstrations or assemblies, and collection of signatures for petitions are required to have a permit.
(b) Ceremonies (IE: weddings, scattering of ashes, graduation ceremonies, etc…),Sports events, pageants, regattas, public spectator attractions, entertainments, and similar events are required to have a permit
(c) Organized groups (reunions, picnics, office gatherings, etc… of 50 or more people are required to have a special use permit.
(d) Groups of more than 10 people must have a wilderness permit to camp on the wilderness islands; Horn and Petit Bois Islands. Campsites may not be used by more than 10 people at one time and will be 1/10 mile apart. Approximately 500 feet)
Section 2.1 Preservation of Natural, Cultural and Archaeological Resources
Dead wood which has already fallen to the ground may be collected in the following areas for use as campfire fuel in authorized camping areas:
(a) The Davis Bayou Campground and picnic areas.
(b) The Fort Pickens Campground and picnic areas.
(c) The Naval Live Oaks Youth Group Camping area (north of U.S. Hwy 98).
Driftwood washed up on the open beaches, between the water line and the vegetation line, may be collected in the following areas for use only as campfire fuel when camping on the islands:
(a) Petit Bois, Horn, West Petit Bois Island (AKA Sand), Ship (formerly known as West Ship & East ship Islands), and NPS-owned portion of Cat Islands.
(b) The Perdido Key area, from ½ mile east of the end of the paved road to the eastern tip of the island.
Determination: Soil development in the sandy soil on barrier islands is slow. Organic matter is critical for the retention of moisture and nutrients in the barrier island habitats, particularly the relic dune areas. Driftwood which remains on the open beaches is not normally incorporated into the soil of the island and may be collected for firewood without having any significant impact on natural resources. Less restrictive measures would allow the collection of all down wood and would not protect the organic material needed for the maintenance of the soil in the island interiors and dune systems.
Unoccupied sea shells may be gathered by hand for personal use in all locations, except where such shells are found in an archeological site.
The collection of edible berries to include blackberries, dewberries, and prickly pear cactus fruit can be gathered up to 1 quart per person for personal consumption.
The collection of leaves, pine needles, sweet gum balls, pine cones, nuts and acorns for educational purposes is permitted under the following conditions:
(a) Persons may collect and keep up to five (5) items of each type specified above, per person, per day. These items may only be collected from the ground after they have been shed from the parent vegetation. None of the items may be picked from live or standing vegetation.
(b) Persons may collect these items only from developed picnic areas and from the surface of paved roads. Items may not be collected from visitor center areas, trails or undeveloped woodlands.
Determination: The removal of small numbers of shed leaves, acorns, pine cones, etc. from parking lots and picnic areas serves an educational purpose and will have no significant impact on natural resources or natural. Less restrictive measures such as allowing the collecting of large amounts of these items or collecting of living plant parts would conflict with wildlife protection regulations. The exception to this is with a written agreement(s) with the park with federally recognized Indian tribes to allow for the gathering and removal of plants or plant parts from National Park System areas for traditional purposes.
Section 2.2 Wildlife Protection
Waterfowl hunting is authorized under the Seashore’s enabling legislation (16 USC 459h). Waterfowl Hunting is authorized only pursuant to applicable seasons, times and other regulations established by Federal and State migratory bird regulations.
Waterfowl hunting is limited as follows
(a) The designated waterfowl hunting areas can only be accessed by water. No overland access for hunting is permitted. When traveling over sea grass beds in the hunting areas, all propulsion engines must be turned off at all times.
(b) Temporary waterfowl hunting blinds (including boat blinds) are permitted at or below the mean high water tide line in areas open to hunting. There will be a 300-yard separation between blinds.
(c) The use of non-native plants or plant materials for the construction of blinds or transportation of non-native species into the Seashore is strictly prohibited. The harvesting of any Seashore plant materials for the construction of a blind is prohibited. No person shall cut, damage, or remove any natural, man-made, or cultural resources without written authorization of the Seashore.
(d) Discard blind materials outside of the Seashore and properly dispose of in accordance with Federal, State, and local laws.
(e) All blinds will be removed at the end of each hunting day. Construction of permanent blinds and digging are prohibited.
(f) Dogs must remain under the control of the hunter at all times. Dogs are permitted to cross the beach to retrieve downed waterfowl to avoid wanton waste, but must remain under control of the owner. Dogs are strictly prohibited from pursuing or harassing wildlife other than downed waterfowl and are strictly forbidden from roaming the shorelines, beaches, or upland areas within the Seashore.
(g) Hunters are not allowed to hunt over bait or place any bait, or other food for wildlife within the Seashore boundaries.
Section 2.3 Fishing
Recreational Fishing is authorized under the Seashore’s enabling legislation (16 USC 459h), with the provision that zones may be designated and periods may be established where fishing is not allowed.
(a) Fishing is prohibited in the following locations when lifeguards are on duty: the designated swim beaches located at Johnson Beach, Langdon Beach, Opal Beach, and Ship Island (formerly known as West ship & East Ship Islands).
Determination: Due to high visitation throughout the Seashore, especially in areas popular for this type of activity, the shooting of lethal projectiles or casting would present an unsafe activity. Less restrictive measures would not provide the degree of safety necessary for Seashore visitors.
Taking of bait from salt water bays, sounds, ponds and lagoons shall be limited to the amount for immediate on-site personal use only.
It is prohibited to chum or place dead fish, fish parts, fish eggs, food, chemicals or other foreign substances in the waters within 500 feet of the pier on Ship Island (formerly known as West Ship & East Ship Islands), Davis Bayou fishing piers, and the Fort Pickens fishing pier for the purpose of feeding or attracting fish.
Section 2.4 Weapons, Traps, and Nets
The Possessing/Carrying of firearms is allowed in accordance with Mississippi and Florida State Laws.
(a) Firearms authorized for waterfowl hunting by the State of Florida may be possessed, carried, and used by licensed waterfowl hunters only during the appropriate season when actually being used for such hunting and only in the locations that are open to hunting.
Section 2.10 Camping and Food Storage
The Fort Pickens and Davis Bayou Campgrounds and facilities are closed to all public access by other than registered campers or persons visiting registered campers.
(b) For all camping areas within the park, food lawfully taken fish or wildlife, garbage, and equipment used to cook or store food must be kept sealed in a vehicle, vessel, or in a camping unit that is constructed of solid, non-pliable material, or suspended at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet horizontally from a post, tree trunk, or other object.
Naval Live Oaks Youth Group Campground, including the parking lot, campsites, pavilion, and the immediate surrounding area are closed to the general public during such times that the campground and/or pavilion is reserved for use pursuant to permit. During these time periods the access road to the campground will remain closed to vehicle traffic, except those vehicles associated with the reserved use of the area. During the times when the area isn’t reserved the access road gate will remain closed to vehicle traffic but the area will be open for foot and bicycle traffic.
Campsites and group tent sites, which have been properly reserved are closed to the use of all persons except for those who have reserved them.
Front country camping is allowed by persons who have purchased a valid camping permit for an individual campsite at the Ft. Pickens or the Davis Bayou Campground, under the following conditions:
(a) Campers (to include but not limited to groups, families, individuals)at the Fort Pickens Campground may stay no more than 42 days annually; the maximum time permitted for camping in the campground is fourteen (14) consecutive days. At the end of fourteen (14) days, campers must completely remove themselves and their property from the park for a minimum of 2 days (48 hours) before returning for another overnight visit. During the campground’s peak period of March 1 through Labor day campers are only allowed a total of 14 days.
(b) Campers at the Davis Bayou Campground may stay no more than 30 days annually, and no more than 14 days during the campground’s peak period of January 1 through March 31.
(c) Campers’ time limits described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section will be calculated cumulatively during the calendar year, whether camping is in a series of short stays or in a continuous stay, and may be waived only for emergency situations, as specifically authorized by the Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, or Chief Ranger.
(d) Individual campsites at the Fort Pickens Campground in loops A, C & E is limited to a maximum of 8 people. No more than 1 recreational vehicle and 1 tent; or two tents.
(e) Individual campsites at the Fort Pickens Campground, B loop is a soft sided tent only loop, limited to a maximum of 8 people. No more than 2 soft sided tents are allowed per campsite.
(f) Individual campsites at the Fort Pickens Campground, D loop are for soft sided or hard sided tents, cars, trucks, or vans and are limited to a maximum of 8 people. No more than 2 tents, or 1 tent and one vehicle for sleeping, or 2 vehicles used for sleeping are allowed per campsite.
(g) All RV’s, all motor homes, and all pop-up type trailers, are not allowed for camping in the Fort Pickens Campground B and D loops.
(h) Individual campsites at Davis Bayou Campground are limited to a maximum of 8 people. No more than 1 recreational vehicle and 1 tent; or 2 tents are allowed per campsite.
(i) No more than two vehicles (including trailers) per campsite. Vehicles must be parked on the paved parking pad. Additional vehicles will be parked at the overflow parking area.
(j) Check in for the campgrounds are after 2:00 p.m. and check out is by 11:00 a.m.
(k) Quiet hours are from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Visitors must be out by 10:00 p.m.
(l) Individual campsites at the Fort Pickens and Davis Bayou Campground are limited to 1 external container (i.e. kiddie pool-5’in diameter/14” high).
(m) Campers at the Fort Pickens and Davis Bayou campgrounds are not allowed to hang food bags or trash, string lights, clothes lines, hammocks, or other equipment in the trees/vegetation.
(n) Camping equipment must be kept within designated areas provided per site.
(o) Portable air conditioning units used for tents or outside are not allowed.
Determination: The above listed conditions provide reasonable access to the campgrounds for the thousands of visitors who come to the Seashore each year to camp. Limits on the number of nights ensures that newly arriving visitors have any opportunity to camp and that a small group of campers cannot monopolize the campgrounds. Limitations on the number of people, vehicles, tents, and property at a site minimize damage to vegetation and topography as well as help maintain the characteristics of a National Park Service campground that the visitors are seeking. The NPS is seeking to strive for “green energy use” so requesting campers to turn off the use of portable window air conditioning units when they are not present will assist in the conservation of energy. Less restrictive measures would not provide adequate protection to park resources or provide reasonable opportunities or the type of campground experience the public seeks when visiting the Seashore.
Group tent camping is allowed to those who have purchased a valid group tent camping permit for the Ft. Pickens Group Tent Site, the Davis Bayou Group Tent Site, and the Naval Live Oaks Youth Group Tent Site(NLO is only rented to Youth Groups) under the following conditions:
(a) Group camping is limited to a minimum of 10 persons and a maximum of 40 persons at each site.
(b) Group campers may stay no more than 14 days annually, and this limit will be calculated cumulatively during the calendar year, whether camping is in a series of short stays or in a continuous stay.
Backcountry and Wilderness camping arriving by vessels is allowed on Perdido Key, West Petit Bois Island (AKA Sand), NPS-owned portion of Cat Island), and the Wilderness Islands of Petit Bois Island, and Horn Island, under the following conditions:
(b) Backcountry campsites must be on relatively flat, level beaches without vegetation or dune structure being damaged. Camping on dunes, fore dunes or on vegetation is prohibited.
(c) Wilderness camping groups of more than 10 people must have a wilderness permit to camp on the wilderness islands; Horn and Petit Bois Islands. Campsites may not be used by more than 10 people at one time. All campsites will be 500 feet apart. (approx.1/10th of a mile)
(d) Those vessels arriving at the Wilderness Islands must remain outside of the mean high tide.
(e) There will be no motorized or mechanical mean devices (wheeled coolers, carts, wheelbarrows, anything with wheels and axles, etc..) allowed in the wilderness areas of Horn and Petit Bois Islands.
(f) Camping, cooking, or other activities are not allowed in areas closed for the protection of shorebirds, osprey, or eagles, including any area within 300 yards of any nest which is being used by adult or juvenile osprey or eagle.
(g) The maximum time permitted for camping in the Backcountry & wilderness areas is fourteen (14) consecutive days. At the end of fourteen (14) days, campers must completely remove themselves and their property from the park for a minimum of 2 days (48 hours) before returning for another overnight visit. There is a 42 day maximum time frame to camp in the backcountry/wilderness areas.
Section 2.11 Picnicking
The following locations are closed to picnicking:
(a) Interior of Fort Barrancas and the Advanced Redoubt.
(b) Interior of Fort Pickens.
(c) Interior of Fort Massachusetts.
(d) There will be no mechanical devices (including coolers, carts, or anything with wheels) or motorized devices within the wilderness areas on Horn and Petit Bois Islands
Picnic pavilion use is limited as follows:
(a) Designated picnic pavilions may be reserved in advance by obtaining the proper permit(s); (ie: reservation permit and Special Use Permits when meet the requirements) but it does not provide exclusive rights to that location. When not reserved, the pavilions are available on first come, first serve basis. The Seashore will display a sign on the pavilion indicating that the pavilion has been reserved.
(b) Visitors may not display signs on the pavilions for the purpose of holding or reserving a pavilion for later use. If the pavilion is not reserved through the Seashore’s pavilion reservation system then the pavilion must be available on a first-come, first-served basis for the general public. Groups must physically occupy the pavilion in order to hold them for use later in the day.
(c) The use of carnival-like games and equipment is prohibited. This includes, but is not be limited to: Moon walks, dunk tanks, pony rides, merry-go rounds and other equipment deemed by the superintendent as inappropriate for use in the Seashore.
(d) The use of amplified music, streamers, flowers, is prohibited without a special use permit.
(e) No more than one sign at each pavilion entrance indicating the name of the group hosting a picnic may be placed at the pavilion by the group that is occupying the pavilion. Signs may not be attached to natural features or to park structures. Buildings, road signs, roads, etc., cannot be marked or painted in any way. The sign shall be removed when departing the facility.
Section 2.12 Audio Disturbances
The following conditions apply
(a) Generators are not allowed in the Fort Pickens campground, B-Loop.
(b) Park wide quiet hours are from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
Section 2.13 Fires
Fires may be built at the locations indicated below under the following conditions:
(a) In all developed campgrounds and picnic areas fires may be built in permanent grills (charcoal only) or fire rings at designated sites.
Exception: Portable grills may be used at designated campsites by registered campers at the Ft. Pickens and Davis Bayou campgrounds. Portable grills are not allowed on the beaches unless in an area where authorized beach fires are allowed.
(b) On Petit Bois, Horn, West Petit Bois Island (AKA Sand),and NPS-owned portion of Cat Island fires may be built on beaches but they must be placed no more than five feet above the high tide line, and they must be below any vegetated area. Only driftwood washed up on the beaches may be burned in these fires; dead and/or down vegetation from the interior of the islands may not be used.
(c) On Perdido Key, in locations designated as open to backcountry camping, fires may be built on beaches but they must be placed no more than five feet above the high tide line, and they must be below any vegetated area. Only driftwood washed up on the beaches may be burned in these fires; dead and/or down vegetation from the interior of the islands may not be used.
(d) Authorized fires on beaches, after being extinguished with water, are to be disposed of by removing burned and unburned material from the area or by burying all materials under at least six inches of sand.
(e) On Ship Island (formerly known as West Ship & East Ship Islands), fires are permitted in portable charcoal or gas grills only. Grills and other fires are prohibited within the designated swim beach and prohibited on all portions of the boardwalk and pavilions.
(f) Ashes and all burned and unburned material from portable grills must be placed in ash receptacles or removed from the area. Such material may not be placed in trash receptacles or placed on the ground.
Determination: Fires in grills can be safely used in all of the campgrounds and picnic areas except for the wooden boardwalks/ pavilions at Ship Island (formerly known as West Ship & East Ship Islands). Fires can also be safely used on the beaches open to backcountry camping, so long as the fires are close to the beaches, away from dune and marsh vegetation and driftwood is the firewood used. Fires on beaches which receive heavy visitor use would present an unsafe situation due to the probability of persons dumping hot coals on the sand. Less restrictive measures would not provide the degree of safety to the public which is reasonable and expected or provide appropriate protection to natural resources.
During periods of drought, as determined below, all open fires within that geographical area of the park are prohibited. For the purposes of this section, open fires shall not include any fire using charcoal briquettes or gas within a barbeque grill, or any fire within a camper or other structure unless the state or county specifically designates these items as an open flame source.
(a) Open fires are prohibited when the park or a State, county, or municipality, within whose exterior boundaries a District or portion thereof is located, has placed a ban on open fires.
Determination: During periods of drought, burning embers escaping an open fire have a strong potential to cause wildfires. The burning of any substance other than charcoal briquettes in a contained grill at these times creates an unacceptable risk to safety and the resources of the park. Less restrictive measures would not provide the degree of safety to the public and to the natural resources of the park. Fires within grills using charcoal briquettes or gas is a reasonable option for the public during these periods.
Section 2.14 Santation and Refuse
The following conditions apply to sanitation and refuse:
Section 2.15 Pets
The following locations are closed to pets excluding service animals.
(a) All beaches and water less than 5 feet deep along the Gulf of Mexico, Sound, and bay sides in the Florida District which include the north and the south shores of Perdido Key, Fort Pickens, Santa Rosa, Naval Live Oaks Areas, and Okaloosa.
(b) The Fort Pickens fishing pier
(c) The Fort Pickens ferry pier
(d) All of the Mississippi Barrier Islands which include Ship (formerly known as West Ship & East Ship Islands), Horn, West Petit Bois (AKA Sand) and Petit Bois Islands and NPS-owned portions of Cat Island.
(e) The Ship Island pier.
(f) The interior of all masonry forts, batteries, and other fortifications.
(g) The interior of all pavilions, picnic shelters, buildings and facilities.
Unattended pets may be tied to fixed objects at individual campsites in the Fort Pickens and Davis Bayou Campgrounds, providing the leash length does not exceed six feet, the pet is not annoying other campers by making unreasonable noise, and the pet is not placed in harm’s way by such act.
It shall be unlawful for any person to fail to carry a bag/container on his/her person that will be utilized to immediately remove any feces left by his/her pet.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to fail to immediately remove any feces left by his/her pet and deposit it in proper trash containers.
Section 2.16 Horses and Pack Animals
Horses may be ridden only on the trails and fire roads of the Naval Live Oaks area, north of U.S. Highway 98.
Section 2.20 Skating, Skateboards, and Similar Devices
Roller skates, roller blades, skateboards, hover boards, rip boards, etc., are prohibited except in the following areas::
(a) Within the Fort Pickens and Davis Bayou Campgrounds by registered campers only.
(b) On the multi-use path along Hwy 98 in the Naval Live Oaks area.
Section 2.21 Smoking
Smoking including but not limited to e-cigarettes, hookahs, or vape pens are prohibited in all government vehicles and buildings, including but not limited to the bathhouses, restrooms, forts, batteries and parade grounds of the forts. Smoking is prohibited within 25 feet of exterior doorways and air intake ducts. Smoking of all sources is prohibited on the Ft. Pickens and Davis Bayou designated fishing piers and the Ft. Pickens and Ship Island ferry piers.
Section 2.22 Property
Vehicles and boat trailers may be left unattended for up to fourteen (14) days with removal on the 14th day in the following locations:
(a) The Davis Bayou boat launching ramp parking lot
(a) Unattended property will not be left over-night. Visitors will need to remove their belongings each day no later than 9:00 pm during day light savings time and by 6:00 pm when fall back.
Determination: This limit ensures that newly arriving visitors have an opportunity to utilize park lands and facilities and ensures that a small number of people cannot monopolize the area. Unattended property for an extended time is a public nuisance and potentially impacts the natural resources.
Section 2.51 Public Assemblies, Meetings
All locations within the Seashore are available for First Amendment activities such as political speeches, religious services, public demonstrations or assemblies, and collection of signatures for petitions except for the following:
Section 2.52 Sale or Distribution of Printed Matter
All locations within the Seashore are available for First Amendment activities such as the sale or distribution of printed matter except for the following:
(d) U.S. Highway 98 in the Naval Live Oaks area and Highway 399 in the Santa Rosa area.
(e) Concessionaire facilities in the Fort Pickens, and Ship Island (formerly known as West ship & East Ship Islands) areas.
Section 3.8 Boating Operations
Operating a vessel in excess of 5 mph or creating a wake is prohibited in the following waters:
Section 3.12 Water Skiing
The following waters are open to the towing of persons by vessels, in accordance with applicable State and federal regulations:
(a) Waters on both the north and south sides of the Santa Rosa area, except within 500 feet of the designated swim beach.
(b) Waters on both the north and south sides of the Fort Pickens area, except within 500 feet of the designated swim beach, and within 500 feet of the Fort Pickens fishing and ferry piers.
(c) Waters on both the north and south sides of the Perdido Key area, except within 500 feet of the designated swim beach, and within that area located at Ft. McRee that is designated as a no-wake zone.
(d) Waters on both the north and south sides of the Mississippi barrier islands, except within 500 feet of the designated swim beach, and within 500 feet of the Ship Island (formerly known as West ship & East Ship Islands) pier, and within 500 feet of the Horn Island pier.
Section 3.16 Swimming & Wading
The following locations are closed to swimming, snorkeling or SCUBA diving:
Section 4.21 - Speed Limits
The following speed limits are established for the roads or routes indicated:
Section 4.30 Bicycles
The term “e-bike” means a two- or three-wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1h.p.). E-bikes are only allowed in Gulf Island NS where traditional bicycles are allowed. E-bikes are prohibited where traditional bicycles are prohibited. Except where use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed, using the electric motor to move an e-bike without pedaling is prohibited. A person operating an e-bike is subject to the following sections of 36 CFR part 4 that apply to the use of traditional bicycles: sections 4.12, 4.13, 4.20, 4.21,4.22, 4.23, and 4.30(h)(2)-(5). Except as specified in this Compendium, the use of an e-bike within Gulf Islands NS is governed by State law, which is adopted and made a part of this Compendium. Any violation of State law adopted by this paragraph is prohibited.
All beaches in Florida including the section of the Florida National Scenic Trail and all beaches in Mississippi are closed to bicycle traffic.
Determination: The local community, with the cooperation of Gulf Islands National Seashore constructed the multi-use paths in the Florida District’s Naval Live Oaks and Santa Rosa Units. These paths traverse from state land through the park. These paths are paved surfaces intended for the sole use of bicyclists, pedestrians and roller skaters. These paths follow easements already established alongside roadways and cause no infringement into pristine and sensitive wildlife habitats. The Fort Pickens bike path is located on an old railroad bed established by the military. The surface is reinforced to withstand the use of bicycles. The use of bicycles on the paths in both the Mississippi and Florida Districts will not conflict with the park’s protection of the area’s natural, scenic and aesthetic values. The paths also provide a sufficient degree of safety for the bicyclists. Less restrictive measures would not provide reasonable use by the public for enjoyment of the park. The use of bicycles on these paths will not conflict with the park’s management and protection of park resources.
Last updated: June 18, 2020