In a provided photo, trash is left at the Perdido Key area of Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Trash, public nudity force National Seashore to suspend camping

The National Park Service has suspended primitive camping at one of the most popular locations along the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Park service officials announced today they are temporarily suspending hike-in/drive-in primitive camping at the Perdido Key Area. The suspension is effective immediately. During the closure, the park will explore management alternatives to address significant resource impacts, according to officials.

“Over the past several years, a significant increase in resource damage by irresponsible campers has seriously endangered the natural resources in the Perdido Key Area,” the park service said in a statement. “This damage has primarily been caused by campers who violate or ignore federal laws and park regulations managing the primitive camping area. The park has also received numerous complaints regarding public nudity and indecent or lewd behavior in the camping area.”

In a provided photo, trash is left at the entrance to the Perdido Key area of Gulf Islands National Seashore. (National Park Service/Special to The Pulse)

“Unfortunately, the irresponsible actions of some park users has negatively affected the visitor experience at the Perdido Key camping area and has placed a heavy burden on the natural resources there,” said Gulf Islands National Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown. “It is our responsibility as the stewards of this land to prevent further damage, and develop a plan to improve the visitor experience.”

During the closure, the park will work with backcountry camping experts throughout the National Park Service and the country to develop a management plan for the area.

There will be a public comment period for the plan before it is finalized. More information regarding how to comment will be distributed with the draft plan. It is the park’s intention to complete and implement this management plan as soon as possible.

Front country camping throughout the park’s developed campgrounds is not impacted by this suspension in Perdido Key. Additionally, primitive camping is still available on the park’s Mississippi Islands including Petit Bois, West Petit Bois (Sand), Horn, and East Ship Islands, as well as the National Park Service owned portion of Cat Island. Campers should visit for information and regulations.