Posts Tagged ‘Fort Pickens Campground’

Fort Pickens Campground

Campers of all ages enjoy Fort Pickens Campground.
nps photo

Camping fees at Gulf Islands National Seashore’s Fort Pickens campground will increase from $20 to $26 on Friday (May 17) to adjust for increasing operational costs and to be compatible with other similar campgrounds in the area. Fees also will increase from $16 to $22 at the seashore’s Davis Bayou campground in Mississippi, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

Traditionally fee rates are reviewed about every seven to eight years.

The seashore put off the rate hikes while dealing with the aftermath of 2004-05 hurricanes Ivan and Katrina, during which time the Fort Pickens Road and campground were closed until spring of 2009.

The new rates will make the seashore camping fees comparable with state park facilities that are similarly situated and have comparable facilities, said Dan Brown, seashore superintendent.

The camping fees at both campgrounds include electric and water hookups.

Prior reservations made at the old price will be honored.

Campers 62 years old or older with Senior passes or those with Access passes for disabilities receive a 50% discount.

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act allows the seashore to retain 80% of the camping and entrance fees to help repair, improve or replace visitor facilities.

Josh Laird had no clue he’d be riding out Tropical Storm Lee in his Volkswagen van when he checked into a campsite Thursday for a two-day fishing trip to Florida’s Fort Pickens Campground.

Laird was among 71 campers stranded for more than 48 hours after Lee’s pounding waves and high surge swamped and shut down the only road in and out at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

With no way to fish in the stormy weather, the 23-year-old Pensacola man said he subsisted on canned soup and water out of the campground faucet.

“The first thing I’m doing? Getting a huge steak,” he said Tuesday afternoon while waiting in a long line of recreational vehicles, cars and trucks poised to be escorted out of the Gulf Islands National Seashore by park officials.

With the first break in the weather on Tuesday, four bulldozers began at 7 a.m. pushing tons of sand and water to the side of a three-mile stretch of road.

Six hours later, most of the 2-to-4-feet deep of soggy, quicksand-like sand was cleared from one lane, a path wide enough to get Airstreams and Winnebagos out.

Most park visitors survived the ordeal in style in their RVs and praised seashore personnel.

“We’re happy campers,” Sarah Lowery, of Branson, Mo., said about her ordeal. “We knew the road was prone to flooding. So, we knew what we were getting into. This is what camping is about.”

She and her husband, Vernon, were among the second wave of 10 campers waiting to be escorted out.

“This was the most awesome Labor Day vacation ever,” she said. “I know not everyone would say that. But we were out here with nature. The park rangers and campground host checked on everyone to make sure no one was short on supplies. People tried to make the most of it.”

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