pensacola beach

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

If you took a walk on some sections of Pensacola Beach over the last few weeks, you may have come across some areas that were off limits to humans. "That's something that's been going on for years, now. It's just postings to mark off the fact that there are nesting shore birds in the area" said Becca Nelson, the Public Information Director for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "We want people to know to keep their distance. We want people to respect those posted areas. A lot of times the birds and their nests and their hatchlings are hard to see.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Spring break season is underway at Pensacola Beach, and runs through mid-April for local schools, and until the end of April for others.

Allison Westmoreland is President of the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce says local merchants are keeping their fingers crossed for that record crowd on beaches, and in stores and restaurants.

“A lot of the hotels are already booking up,” said Westmoreland. “Social media is huge right now, so even just sharing one event on social media gets 10,000 views. I think that’s going to attract a lot of people in as well.”

IHMC

As pleasant as it is to walk the beach in shorts and barefoot in January, I’m one who really likes winter. It brings, or at least used to bring, relief from the smothering humidity that blankets Northwest Florida’s summers. Not to mention the insects.

'Outdoors' most of the year means the beach or our creeks and rivers; hiking the woods and wet prairies is best left to the crisp, dry days of fall and winter, which this year have been few and far between. I’ve heard many complaints from hunters sweating in their blinds, not the outdoor experience they sought.

IHMC

As an old editorial writer, I’m accustomed to offering criticism. But the necessary flip side of criticism is to offer praise when you think something is done properly. Anyway, some time ago I offered the opinion that planners working on fixing decades-old traffic problems on Pensacola Beach were stuck in the mud. They avoided addressing the fundamental problems by tinkering ineffectively around the edges.

Plans to begin ferry service between downtown Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens are still set for next spring, but have been pushed back a few weeks. 

Next March was the original target date to launch the two boats and the triangular routes, but Dan Brown, Superintendent of Gulf Islands National Seashore, says some of the components of the service are meeting some challenges and delays.

IHMC

Over more than 30 years as a reporter and editor at the Pensacola News Journal, I watched certain  community issues that never seemed to go away. Everyone agreed on the problem, but no one could agree on a solution.

So we debated the problem, over and over.

One such evergreen issue is traffic on Pensacola Beach. Actually, it’s two problems. Traffic, and parking.

I see no real solution for parking. This area is growing, and tourism is growing. What isn’t growing is the size of the beach. There simply isn’t room.

Jonathaon Beebe-Franqui

The numbers are in and by all counts, the Memorial Day beach cleanup program on Santa Rosa Island conducted by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community was a resounding success.

It’s a tall order to clean up after an estimated 75,000 people around the clock over a three-day period. But PSouth Operation Beach Clean organizer Dwayne Beebe-Franqui says everything was “fantastic.”

Courtesy of PSouth

A beach cleanup project during the annual LGBT Beach Reunion during Memorial Day Weekend – at Pensacola Beach and Park East is aimed at keeping the sand and water beautiful during and just after the holiday.

More than 75,000 people – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – are expected to gather on the beach, mainly in the Park East section of Santa Rosa Island. And when a crowd that size forms – gay or straight – there’s a vast amount of debris that’s left behind. That’s where PSouth Operation Beach Cleanup comes in.

IHMC

Having lived almost all of my life in Northwest Florida, I can’t really speak to how it is to live in other places. But the variety of lifescapes offered by this area must be hard to beat.

That is underscored by our recent move from rural Garcon Point to urbanized Pensacola Beach. The culture shock could hardly be overstated.

FDOT

Soon you make not have to go searching for a dollar bill to get to Pensacola Beach: beginning May 31st, the Bob Sykes Bridge, connecting Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach, will begin accepting Sun Pass for the one dollar toll.

Photo via Flickr// Jandy Stone / https://flic.kr/p/gXJzd

In case you missed the first one, another lifeguard tryout is scheduled for April 30 by the Santa Rosa Island Authority.

Candidates are asked to be at the UWF Aquatic Center a little before 1:00 p.m. on that Saturday, to fill out the paperwork for a possible spot at Pensacola or Johnson Beaches.

Photo via Flickr//Ben Ferenchak

Aspiring lifeguards should mark Saturday, January 30 on their calendars, for tryouts to work at Pensacola Beach.

Senior Lifeguard Alex Johnson is making the call to join him at 6:30 that morning at the University of West Florida Aquatic Center. But he warns that the requirements for employment will be challenging.

Ferry service on Pensacola Bay is moving full speed ahead towards a launch date of March, 2017.

The latest step forward is the National Park Service’s award of a contract to All-American Marine. The Washington state-based firm will design and build two aluminum double-decker Catamaran-style ferry boats, each with a capacity of 150-passengers.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

If you’re heading to the beach this holiday weekend, remember you’re not just sharing the shoreline with friends, family and fish. Take the time to watch out for shore birds.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

    

On Tuesday morning Chris Carter was loading the metal skeleton of a pop up beach tent onto the trailer of his truck. The Gulf Breeze resident says things looked a lot different over the weekend. "Over the weekend it looked like a catastrophe. There were these pop-up tents and tents and air mattresses and floats. The storms came through...Sunday morning and everyone left in a panic and the beach was in disarray."

wcmu.org

The parties are already underway for this weekend’s annual gathering of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender at Pensacola Beach’s Park East.

About 150,000 people have attended the LBGT-related events the past couple of Memorial Day weekends. Ted McCrary, the general manager of Emerald City – the downtown Pensacola bar that serves as party central -- is expecting about the same, if not a slightly higher number this year.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

The Santa Rosa Island Authority is at a bit of a crossroads.

The authority, which provides many services and events on Pensacola Beach, has been funded over the years, for the most part, with the lease fees paid by homeowners on the island. However, those home owners are now also being charged ad valorem property taxes. Some have called paying both property taxes and lease fees a form of double-taxation.

SRIA

  

The Santa Rosa Island Authority has agreed to hire a community planner to prepare for a future where its primary source of funding could soon disappear.

Photo via Flickr//Ben Ferenchak

Dangerous surf conditions along the local beaches are in the forecast for early this week, as the number of lifeguards on Pensacola Beach are at their normal October reduction in force. Red flags are also up at Navarre Beach in Santa Rosa County, where lifeguards will be on duty through October 31.

visitpensacola.com

  Seven local advertising agencies are teaming up to work with the group Visit Pensacola as “Showcase Pensacola” which will market the area to potential visitors.

Work on promotional and public relations projects for Showcase has been going on since early spring, by the Appleyard Agency, E.W. Bullock Associates, Ideaworks, IDGroup, Southern Media, AC Advertising and Duncan McCall. Dick Appleyard says normally, they’re a very competitive lot.

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