Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fort Pickens remains closed due to Storm Damage

Historic Fort Pickens at Pensacola remains closed as crews work to clean up damage caused over the weekend by Tropical Storm Lee.

The storm felled trees over hiking trails, covered boardwalks, picnic areas, roads and other facilities with sand and flooded restrooms and other parts of the Fort Pickens area of Gulf Islands National Seashore. Until the cleanup work can be completed, the National Park Service indicates that Fort Pickens will remain closed to the public.

Park staff did complete the removal of large deposits of sand from J. Earl Bowden Way (SR 399) between Pensacola Beach and Navarre. Parking Lot 1 has reopened for public use, but Parking Lots 9, 10 and Opal beach remain closed but should reopen by the weekend. Drivers are urged to use extreme caution in the Santa Rosa area of the National Park until the work is completed.

The Perdido Key area o fthe park ha spartially reopened. The area from the west gate to the main parking lot is now accessiible and lifeguards are on duty along the beaches there from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.For more information about the status of the Fort Pickens Campground call 850-934-2621, for general park information contact the Naval Live Oaks Visitor Center 850-934-2600, or the Fort Pickens Road hotline number at 850-934-2656.

The Fort Pickens area of Gulf Islands National Seashore has suffered considerable damage from hurricanes and tropical storms over the last decade, but fortunately the latest storm does not appear to have done significant damage to the main park road. As a result, the area should reopen as soon as sand removal and other necessary work can be completed.

To learn more about the historic antebellum fort, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/fortpickens1.

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