Santa Rosa County ordinance states: “It shall be unlawful for items generally used for swimming, sunbathing, or beach recreation to remain on the beach between two hours after dusk and two hours after sunrise, except as otherwise permitted in this section. As used in this section, the phrase "items generally used for swimming, sunbathing, or beach recreation" shall include, but not be limited to, beach chairs, umbrellas, tents (including tent frames), hammocks, volleyball nets, picnic tables and tiki huts.” It goes on to state that no items should be left that would be injurious to the environment, or the health, safety, or welfare of the public. This means your trash. In other words, leave only your footprints behind; leave no trace of you having been on the beach.
Each year, beginning in mid-March and ending in late summer, Gulf Islands National Seashore plays host to several species of ground nesting shorebirds, including least terns, snowy and Wilson’s plovers, and black skimmers.
The least terns come from as far as Central and South America to raise their young on these beaches. Areas where birds are nesting will be closed to the public and marked accordingly. These closed areas represent a very small percentage of the Seashore and officials request that visitors divert activities to other areas of the park. If visitors find themselves besieged by birds, it means they are near an unmarked nesting area or young chicks. Leave the area by back-tracking your steps – these eggs are very small and may be hard to see, according to officials.
Adult birds and their tiny chicks are sometimes struck by vehicles as they wander onto or fly across roadways, according to a press release from the Seashore. In order to decrease the number of road strikes, posted speed limits have been temporarily reduced to 20 mph in those areas where birds are nesting in close proximity to the roadway.
By August, nesting will be complete, and normal use of the road will resume.
Bicyclists, walkers and joggers are also encouraged to temporarily avoid areas along the roadway posted as closed for nesting shorebirds.
Any intrusion into the nesting area causes the birds to take flight leaving their nests vulnerable to heat and predators. They will often dive at the intruder in an effort to drive them away from the colony, according to the release. Alarmed birds may then fly low across the road and into the paths of oncoming vehicles.
Gulf Islands has once again partnered with Florida Audubon Society to provide additional information on these birds. Visitors may see guides set up in parking lots or roaming the beaches with spotting scope and more information.
Show your support of our nesting shore birds. Stop by the visitor centers at Fort Pickens and Naval Live Oaks and pick up a “chick magnet.”
For additional information on park programs and resources, contact the Naval Live Oaks Visitor Center at 850-934-2600 or visit www.nps.gov/guis.
Why is the sand on Navarre Beach and across the Emerald Coast so white that it looks like grains of sugar?
This quartz-rich sand actually washed down from the Appalachian Mountains by way of the Apalachicola River, where it entered the Gulf of Mexico and eventually made its way onto our shores. This sand is pure, white quartz crystals ground into perfect granules, leaving the sand powdery soft, even squeaking, under your toes!
We hope you will love our beaches as much as we do. And please remember to leave only your footprints behind so others can enjoy it as well.
The highly anticipated nesting season for sea turtles began May 1 and continues until October 31. Navarre Beach is home to four of the six of the species of sea turtles listed as threatened or endangered and protected by the Endangered Species Act; loggerhead, green, leatherback and Kemp’s ridley.
“Starting the first of May we have been patrolling the beach for nests,” Cathy Holmes of the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Patrol said. “This year because of the work going on to renourish the beach, any nests we find will have to be relocated to outside of the work area.”
There are numerous ways that visitors and residents of Navarre Beach, both gulf side and north side, can positively impact sea turtle nesting a
“Education is really important, because I find that people are more than willing to do the right thing if they know what that is,” Holmes said.
To protect the nesting habitat of sea turtles, a few guidelines should be adhered to:
• Fill in any holes so sea turtles coming onshore do
not get trapped.
• Do not use flashlights or flash photography
around a nesting female or hatchlings
• Turn out beachfront lights after dark
• Shield the top and sides of exterior fixtures
so that the light is directed downward onto
your property and away from the beach.
• Properly dispose of trash and discarded
• Potential obstructions to nesting sea turtles must be removed from the beach by evening. Santa Rosa County has a “Leave No Trace” ordinance whereby items left on the beach overnight will be removed by Santa Rosa County and become property of the county.
Anyone who finds an injured or dead sea turtle should immediately contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-3922.
Water is off on Monday
Navarre Visitor Center
8543 Navarre Parkway
Navarre Beach Area Chamber
8543 Navarre Parkway 850-939-3267
Photo courtesy John Starrett jonmonfishimagery.com
Pensacola Beach Dog Parks
Pensacola Beach has two Dog Parks. The Dog Park hours are now from 7 a.m. until sunset, but will change to sunrise to sunset on November 1st.
The west end park is located at
Lot B, the first parking lot past
the last condos on the Gulf.
The east end park,
Lot E, the first parking
lot past Portofino.
All dogs are required
to be on a leash, and
signs will be posted to
areas. Doggie bags,
disposable bins and handy
wipes will be available at
For more information,
please contact the Santa
Rosa Island Authority at