Gulf Islands Seashore Seeks Public Input - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulf Islands Seashore Seeks Public Input

Frogs find Gulf Islands a great place to hang out.  You can hear them croaking near the park's alligator pond.

Visiting families also enjoy the gulf side getaway. Whether exploring the woods for birds and flowers, or launching a boat, Gulf Islands offers a natural retreat.

"Most of what I've heard so far, they like it pretty much the way it was before the hurricane," said park superintendent Jerry Eubanks.

Much restoration has been done since Katrina. Boardwalks are back in shape and most downed trees have been removed.

A storm battered fishing dock remains closed, but should be back this summer.

Eubanks wants public input on a long range management plan that offers four alternatives.

"One is to keep the park pretty much how it was before the hurricane. The other one is to focus on education, the educational aspects. The other one is more on a natural processes aspect and the other would be a diversification, a combination of all these," he explained.

Part of the campground re-opens Monday, after serving as a refuge for storm victims.

That is welcome news to Tommy Pepper, a frequent park visitor.

"A lot of people like to be going camping and stuff. I've been to picnics and things on the other side. It's a nice park down here. A very nice park," he said.

Not surprisingly, park visitors say the thing they like most about Gulf Islands is getting out and enjoying nature. That's why trails throughout the park, have proven so popular.

"A place for inspiration, to get away from it all. An opportunity just to see nature as nature intended. Peace. Quiet. Tranquility," said park ranger, Faye Walmsley.

Wildlife have spoken with the birds chirping and frogs croaking.  Now park officials want to hear from visitors.

You can pick up a survey form at Gulf Islands National Seashore in Ocean Springs.

You can also register your input on line by clicking here

By Steve Phillips

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