Gulf Islands National Seashore beginning to increase recreational access to Mississippi areas of the park

Ocean Springs, Miss. – Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Gulf Islands National Seashore is increasing recreational access at the Mississippi areas. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

Beginning on Friday, May 15, Gulf Islands National Seashore will initiate Phase One access at:

The Davis Bayou Area

  • Facilities near the visitor center including the parking lot, picnic area, fishing pier, restroom, and all hiking trails
  • Petit Bois, West Petit Bois, and Horn islands, as well as, the NPS-owned portion of Cat Island
  • Regular operating hours resume
  • Group camping at Petit Bois and Horn islands will not be permitted

With public health in mind, the following facilities and areas remain closed at this time:

  • Ship Island
  • The William M. Colmer Visitor Center at the Davis Bayou Area
  • The Davis Bayou Campground
  • Robert McGhee Road and associated facilities including the public boat ramp

“Park staff, in coordination with public health officials continue to monitor health data from local and regional areas to determine when gating criteria is met,” said Superintendent Dan Brown. “As the areas evaluated continue to move through the required criteria the park is working hard to increase recreational access in a safe and responsible way.”

“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Gulf Islands National Seashore, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.”

“While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services will be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.”

“The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health. ”

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on www.nps.gov/guis and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

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