Monday, March 5, 2012

Protecting the Barrier Islands

Ocean Springs, MS.  Last week we spent a few days exploring the Mississippi Gulf Coast along the Gulf Islands National Seashore.  The nation's longest National Seashore, Gulf Islands spans from Mississippi to Florida and is home to a wide variety of cultural and natural resources.  With its beautiful emerald waters and sparkling white sand beaches, the seashore sees over 4 million visitors every year.  Some of the more fascinating features of the park are the barrier islands, a chain of islands off the coast that harbor migrating birds, plant life that can endure the pounding of hurricane force winds, and numerous sea creatures, including the crowd favorite- Sea Turtles.  Two of the islands, Petit Bois and Horn Islands, are federally-designated Wilderness Areas.  As the park moves to improve their Wilderness Management Plan, we were called in to provide a full day training for the staff, as well as some local partners from MS and AL, to explore the seven principles and concepts of Leave No Trace.
We spent the day with 15 NPS staff, both from the MS Gulf and the FL Gulf, guides from South Coast Paddling, a Scout Master and Leave No Trace Master Educator, and a woman from the Mobile, AL.  All of the participants were engaged in learning about the various programs offered through the Center, the resources available, activities to learn about the seven principles, and how to effectively communicate Leave No Trace to people they interact with. The park is excited to incorporate Leave No Trace further into their Wilderness Management Plan in order to help protect and preserve the beautiful resource that is the Gulf Islands National Seashore!
Enjoy the slideshow from our day of training.

Respect the Resource...Kate and Tracy

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