Civil War munitions exposed on Perdido Key beach following Ida; Cannonballs detonated at Gulf Islands National Seashore

Civil War munitions exposed on Perdido Key beach following Ida; Cannonballs detonated at Gulf Islands National Seashore

The effects of last month’s Hurricane Ida exposed stockpiled Civil War era munitions on the beach in two different locations a half mile from Fort McRee on the southeastern end of Gulf Islands National Seashore on Perdido Key.
The remote area is only accessible by boat, foot or ATV and the 35-pound cannonballs, around 190 in all, were detonated, as it was believed there was a slight risk of them exploding, since there was no way of knowing if they may have still contained gunpowder.
The origin of the cannonballs is being investigated, according to Superintendent of the Gulf Islands National Seashore Darrel Echols.
“The park continues to monitor the area for newly discovered munitions and will secure the site should any be found in the future,” said Echols. “Our goal is to ensure that the area is safe for the visitors and staff, and that cultural resources are protected.”
The area where the munitions were found is closed and marked with signs. Park rangers will be monitoring and patrolling the area regularly in search of additional undiscovered munitions still buried.
“The park continues to monitor the area for newly discovered munitions and will secure the site should any be found in the future,” said Echols. “Our goal is to ensure that the area is safe for the visitors and staff, and that cultural resources are protected.”
More than 190 cannonballs were detonated within park boundaries with help from other federal agencies.
Munitions found within national park boundaries are considered cultural artifacts and are protected by law. It is illegal for the public to harm, deface, damage, or remove these items. The National Park Service, Southeast Archaeology Center, and Florida State University began a cultural survey of the eastern end of Perdido Key in 2019.
Created in 1971, Gulf Islands National Seashore stretches 160 miles along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and Mississippi, and includes barrier islands, maritime forests, historic forts, bayous, and marine habitat. Info: nps.gov/ .

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