Gulf Islands National Seashore Threatens to Limit/Outlaw PWC Usage

Well, here we go again. Recently, the National Park Service (NPS) for the Gulf Islands National Seashore (GUIS) issued the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The National Park Service’s DEIS was prepared for presenting different “solutions” to personal watercraft use at Gulf Islands National Seashore.

These “solutions” (so to speak) immediately label PWC usage (as well as small marine craft) as a nuisance and includes five “Alternatives” to choose from that will govern PWC use within the GUIS. Of these, Alternative A is an all-out ban. This will be a nearly 20 year step backwards.

Per‘s Billy Crews, “The NPS is currently favoring Alternative D; unfortunately, this alternative closes the shores to PWC landings on Horn and Petite Bois Islands. I and a number of my PWC brothers & sisters will be lobbying for Alternative B, which mostly aligns PWC use with other marine craft.”

Crew continues, “Within the DEIS, I discovered that whatever the alternative the NPS decides is based, in part, on the following:  As of 2014, there were (approximately) 7,500 PWC registered in 5 counties that border the GUIS.  This does not include any skis in Alabama, or portions of MS or FL that do not border the GUIS or  skis that travel from out of state to visit. Of just those 7,500 skis, on several survey missions, only 50 (approx.) skis made it to Horn or Petite Bois Islands.”

Albeit decidedly illogical that the NPS would dictate policy based on a study that includes less than 1% of possible visits even if only for a handful of observed days, the DEIS will be made available for public comment until September 17, 2018. The park will host three public meetings the week of August 20.

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Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

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