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Birders,

The following article appeared in the Pensacola News Journal today, Friday, Nov. 20. The main points:
    (1) the beachfront  road from Pensacola Beach east to Navarre Beach, passing through the Seashore area known as Opal Beach, is now open.
    (2) the road from Pensacola Beach west into the Ft. Pickens area:   Sand removal from Fort Pickens Road is expected to begin within the next week to 10 days and could be completed in four weeks. [We are already seeing work being done to remove this sand. What is unknown is whether the roadbed beneath the sand has sustained damage.]

However (groan), there is an extra-tropical low pressure system scheduled to track out of the western Gulf eastward across the northern Gulf with high tides which could deposit more sand, create further road damage, and could flood the roadway inhibiting sand removal already in progress. This system will not be as strong or as intense as T.S. Ida.

Meanwhile, is the Green-tailed Towhee still there? Nobody knows. And what birds will the current weather system displace to inaccessible Ft. Pickens....?

Lucy and Bob Duncan
Gulf Breeze, FL

Beach road reopens http://www.pnj.com/article/20091120/NEWS01/911200344

Bowden Way back after 11-day closure

Kimberly Blair
[log in to unmask] 

One of the area's most scenic roadways reopens today, 11 days after the storm surge from Tropical Storm Ida covered it with sand.

J. Earle Bowden Way on Santa Rosa Island, which connects Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach, opens at 8 a.m., Gulf Islands National Seashore Superintendent Jerry Eubanks said.

Seashore work crews and Panhandle Grading and Paving rushed to remove hundreds of cubic yards of sand from the popular road that hugs the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico.

"It seems like as soon as it closed, everyone wanted to use that road," said Maureen LaMar, executive director of the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce.

The road - which reopened this year after being severely damaged by hurricanes Ivan in 2004 and Dennis in 2005 - is popular among tourists traveling east.

Eubanks warns visitors to be aware that there is some damage on Bowden Way, primarily on the north side of the roadway. The damage will be repaired.

Bike lanes and shoulders will remain closed for safety reasons.

Seashore work crews cleared Johnson Beach Road, which also opens at 8 a.m. today.

Sand removal from Fort Pickens Road is expected to begin within the next week to 10 days and could be completed in four weeks.

Additional Facts 
For more details on Gulf Islands National Seashore, call 934-2600.

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