November 2, 2012

GUIS Davis Bayou Area Blueway

Officially designated Nov 10, 2012, this collection of three adjacent trails is a blueway rich in animal and plant life.  These trails also offer many twists & turns allowing participants to hone their navigation skills without being too difficult for the beginner or novice paddler.  Developed by the National Park Service, National Park Foundation, and Heritage Trails Partnership and made possible in part by a grant from the National Park Foundation through the generous support of the Coca-Cola Foundation, the marshes are home to many species of birds and other animals as indicated below.  The Davis Bayou Area offers campsites as well as day access depending on your needs and is located off U.S. 90, east of downtown Ocean Springs, MS. Use Exit 50 or 57 south from I-10.

Visit the GUIS website for more information about this park: http://www.nps.gov/guis/planyourvisit/davis-bayou-area.htm or use their OnCelAudio System by dialing (850)677-1089.  Press 9 for the Davis Bayou Area – 1 to rewind, 2 to pause/play, 3 to fast forward, and *0 to provide feedback.  Press 16 for current surf warning flags and 17 for closures.

You may download a copy of the Davis Bayou Blueway Brochure, which includes a map of the trail here:
DBBW Brochure

Of Interest:

Salt Marshes – Salt Marsh Brochure

Animal Life on GUIS:

Birds – More than 280 species of birds have been identified within the boundaries of Gulf Islands National Seashore, since its establishment in January 1971. Pick up a bird checklist at any of the visitor centers in the Park. The bird check list will help you identify the birds you see and also lists the seasons and the abundance of each of the 280 species. Please report unusual or new sightings to the Interpretation Division, 1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze, Florida 32563, phone 850-934-2600.
Bird nesting areas may be closed during nesting seasons.
– reprinted with permission from the GUIS website, Bird Watching page

Other Animals – Grey Squirrel, Raccoon, Striped Skunk, Eastern Cottontail, Beach Mouse, River Otter, Atlantic Bottle-Nosed Dolphin, Six-Lined Racerunner, Black Racer, Green Treefrog, Leopard Frog, Mole Crab, Ghost Crab, Southern Coohina,Banded Water Snake, Salt Marsh Snake (Endangered Species!), Diamondback Terrapin.

The following animals are dangerous and should not be approached if at all possible:
Eastern Cottonmouth Snake (poisonous – lives in marshes), Jellyfish (poisonous), Portuguese Man-Of-War (poisonous), American Alligator.

Please Remember:
– Offering food to wildlife is unhealthy for the animals and potentially unsafe for YOU.
– An unrestrained pet can upset wild animals ans destroy their habitat while endangering the pet itself.
– All wild animals and plants within the park are protected by Federal Law.  Please help by not molesting, feeding, killing, or injuring any of the wildlife or disturbing the plant life.

Excerpts, unless otherwise noted, have been reprinted with permission from the Gulf Islands National Seashore Wildlife Guide and Beachcomber’s Guide to the Barrier Islands.  Pick up a copy of each at the visitor center when you visit!

 Safety Tips:

In Case of Emergency – Dial 911
Sun:
Use a sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher & cover up – the sun is intense!
Weather:
Move inside during thunderstorms.  In case of lighting, get out of the water IMMEDIATELY!
Pets:
Service dogs are allowed in all areas.  Pets must be on a 6-foot leash.  Do not leave pets in vehicles on warm days.
Protect Your Property:
Do not leave anything of value in your vehicle.  If camping, safeguard properly.
Trash:
Leave No Trace – Pack it in, pack it out!  Dumpsters are located throughout the park.  Recycle bins are located near the campground.
Wildlife & Plants:
Do not feed or harm wildlife.  Observe posted closures.  All plants are protected – please do not pick.
Insects:
Use insect repellent or wear pants & long sleeve shirts to guard against biting insects or ticks.

Reprinted with permission from the GUIS Official Newspaper, Gulf Islands Today.

For more information, please contact:
Mississippi District
3500 Park Rd
Ocean Springs, MS  39564
(228) 230-4100
www.nps.gov/guis

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