Beach Access Open at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge In Gulf Shores, Alabama
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service announces that limited beach areas will reopen today at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. All areas of the refuge have been closed to the public since Hurricane Ivan swept through Gulf Shores on September 16, 2004.
Areas that have reopened include the beach located to the west of Mobile Street. All areas east of Mobile Street will remain closed until further notice. On the Fort Morgan Unit, the area west of the beach access road, including Mobile Point, will also reopen to the public. Permission must be obtained from the Fort Morgan State Historical Site to access areas north of the refuge boundary signs at Mobile Point. These beach areas on Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge are open to day use and foot traffic only, and visitors should be no more than 50 feet away from the active surf.
"This opening will afford the visiting public an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and a chance to escape their cleanup struggles as a result of Hurricane Ivan," said Robert Cail, Manager of Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.
In mid-September, Hurricane Ivan made landfall at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and nearby Gulf Shores, Alabama. This major Category 3 hurricane caused nearly complete destruction of the primary and secondary dunes along the Alabama Gulf coast. In addition, refuge parking areas, kiosks, observation decks, and board walks have all been closed due to wind or storm surge damage.
"Areas such as the Jeff Friend, Pine Beach, and the Centennial trails will have to remain closed due to large accumulations of construction debris mixed with hazardous materials, including boards with nails, broken glass, appliances that contain freon, gas containers, propane containers, and other items typically found in beach houses," said Ron Hollis, Refuge Operations Specialist.
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge was established by Congress in 1980 to preserve fragile barrier features along the rapidly developing Alabama Gulf Coast. The Refuge is comprised of four separate units on the Fort Morgan Peninsula and Little Dauphin Island in coastal Alabama. Habitats include a diverse assemblage of beach, coastal dunes and associated uplands, salt marsh, and wetlands at the mouth of Mobile Bay and within the Gulf of Mexico. These habitats support a variety of threatened and endangered species, such as the Alabama beach mouse, piping plover, and green, loggerhead, and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles. More than 370 species of migratory birds inhabit the refuge during migrations.
For more information, please contact Robert Cail, Refuge Manager, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, 12295 State Highway 180, Gulf Shores, Alabama 36542, telephone 251/540-7720.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 fish and wildlife management offices, and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.
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