Friday, November 13, 2009

Lonesome Road to Ft. Pickens

As tame as Tropical Storm Ida was as it came ashore over Mobile, it's no surprise that the road to Ft. Pickens is closed once again. "About 80 percent of Fort Pickens Road between the entrance station and ranger station is covered with 500,000 to 750,000 cubic yards of sand," chief Park Ranger Clayton Jordan told the PNJ.
The closure of Fort Pickens Road marks the fourth time since the road reopened in May that it has been closed for weather-related reasons, Jordan said. The road was washed out by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. It was rebuilt but then destroyed by Tropical Storm Arlene and hurricanes Cindy and Dennis in 2005.
In fact, there is a saltwater and sand overwash of a stretch of road nearly a half-mile long during just about every rain storm and many high tides. We happened to be visiting the fort a week or so before Ida. It was about two weeks after a seasonal rain storm not much worse than Ida. Evidence of overwash was visible all along that portion of the road.

What's happening, as Barrier Island Girl helped us point out last May, is that the western end of Santa Rosa Island is gradually breaking off. It's a slow process, to be sure. Mother Nature is in no hurry. But it's as inevitable as the division of East Ship and West Ship islands.

So, enjoy Fort Pickens when and as you can. Your grandchildren will have to boat there, for sure.

1 comment:

PJ said...

I like to think the process will be an object lesson in land management (prolly not) AND create a new industry, ferry boats to Ft Pickens and other sights. I would pay for that.