The National Park Service (NPS) has proposed changes to improve habitat and visitor access to the Johnson Beach/Perdido Key Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore (GUIS).
Natural dune migration has engulfed the road shoulders and boardwalks, making beach access more difficult and creating safety issues associated with roadside parking.
GUIS has drafted an environmental assessment (EA) analyzing a range of alternatives.
Proposed alternatives will increase parking in the main lot and add new parking lots along the first 1.5 miles of Johnson Beach Road.
Higher, handicapped-accessible dune crossover boardwalks would be constructed to improve beach access and reduce impacts to the dune habitat caused by numerous informal access trails.
Road shoulder parking would be eliminated. All other areas of Gulf Islands were converted from roadside parking to parking lots in the 1990s.
The last half-mile of the road would be converted to a multi-use trail for pedestrian and bicycle use.
These changes would allow a wide range of uses from beach goers, pedestrians and bicyclists, to drivers, and would restore significant sections of beach habitat that are essential for shorebird nesting and the critically endangered Perdido Key beach mouse.
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