Coastal Preserves Visitor Rules and Guidelines

A. General

  1. The Department of Marine Resources is not responsible for any accidents or injuries to any persons while on state-owned coastal preserve property.
  2. The Department of Marine Resources shall not be responsible for any property or article lost, stolen, or damaged while on state-owned coastal preserve property.
  3. Obey all posted signs, gates, and fences. During certain times, areas of the preserve may be closed due to restoration, prescribed fire, or endangered habitat and animals.
  4. No permanent structures are allowed on state-owned coastal preserve property.
  5. Attaching or posting of notices, signs, or any other objects on state-owned coastal preserves is prohibited.
  6. No new trails shall be cut or created within the state-owned coastal preserves.
  7. No one shall use portable generators without permission.
  8. Remove all personal property and trash when leaving.
  9. Please respect the property of adjacent landowners. Keep in mind that state-owned coastal preserves boundaries may not be clearly marked.
  10. Help preserve and protect your coastal preserves.
  11. Please call the Coastal Preserves Program at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, if you see anything that requires immediate attention. (228) 374-5000.

B. Safety Precautions

  1. Cell phone: Be sure to take along a cell phone in case of an emergency.
  2. Food and water: Be sure to bring adequate amounts of food for your trip to a coastal preserve. Bring plenty of water and keep well hydrated on days that are hot and sunny.
  3. Protection from sun: Serious sunburns can occur even on somewhat cloudy days. Bring plenty of sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater). Also use hats, sunglasses and clothing to protect you from the sun's harmful rays.
  4. Footwear: Boots or shoes are recommended. There may still be storm debris that contains pieces of metal, glass, etc.
  5. Inclement weather: Bring proper rain gear if rain is expected. Visits to coastal preserves during heavy rain or weather are not recommended.
  6. Insects: Biting or stinging insects may be common. Mosquitoes, ants and gnats are a particular nuisance and may carry some diseases. Use insect repellent with DEET to protect against insect bites.
  7. Snakes and alligators: Do not harass or approach any snakes or alligators. Cottonmouths (also known as water moccasin) are a common poisonous snake found on in coastal preserves. If a snake or alligator is encountered, walk away from it and let others with you know of its location.
  8. Poison oak/ivy: Be prepared to identify and avoid poison oak and poison ivy. These plants can cause an allergic reaction to the skin if contacted. Do not burn any wood with vines on it. Breathing in smoke from burning poison ivy vines can be serious.
  9. Briars and thorny plants: Some areas may contain vines and shrubs with sharp thorns and briars. If possible refrain from walking in these areas and wear long pants to protect your legs.
  10. Hazardous trees: Many trees in the coastal preserves were killed or severely injured by Hurricane Katrina. These dead and dying trees are a potential hazard. Large limbs or the entire tree may fall at any time. Avoid any areas with a large number of dead trees and use extreme caution when around them. Do not camp around dead standing trees. Be cautious and alert for falling snags along trails and roadways.
  11. Avoid storm debris piles. Hurricane Katrina left a great deal of storm debris in the coastal preserves. Most of that debris has been removed; however, there are still areas with significant amounts of storm debris. This debris can be hazardous so it's best to stay clear of any debris you may see.

C. Camping

  1. Currently, camping in state-owned coastal preserves is allowed only on Deer Island.
  2. Camp as near the beach as you can. This will keep the bugs down and will minimize disturbance to the wildlife.
  3. Do not carve, chop, or cut down any live or dead standing vegetation. If you need to make a campfire, you may collect loose material on the ground for burning.
  4. Build campfires only in fire rings, stoves, or grills on bare sandy areas near the water. Be sure your fire is completely extinguished before leaving the area. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR KEEPING YOUR FIRE UNDER CONTROL.
  5. The camping areas are very primitive, lacking fresh water and sanitation facilities. All necessities need to be packed in and all trash, including human waste, should be removed and properly disposed.
  6. It's recommended that campers use portable toilets. Otherwise dig a small "cat hole" (at least 6 inches deep) no less than 200 feet away from all water sources, campsites and trails. Be sure to cover these holes up completely and pack them down tight.
  7. Do not disturb any nesting birds or other wildlife.
  8. Remove all personal property and trash when leaving. The Leave No Trace ethic should be practiced.
  9. Keep noise at a reasonable level. Please be considerate of fellow visitors.
  10. No pets are allowed.
  11. Camping on the island is for recreation purposes only. Attempting to make the island your permanent residence is not allowed.
  12. Native American sites, old homesites, and other structures, along with objects and artifacts associated with them, are state historical and archeological resources. It is illegal to remove historical artifacts from state property without a permit from the Department of Archives and History. Please help preserve them by not touching or removing anything from the site.
  13. The boundaries between state and private lands are not clearly marked. Please respect private property rights.

D. Personal Conduct

  1. Please be considerate of fellow visitors.
  2. Disorderly conduct is strictly prohibited. No person shall indulge in riotous, boisterous, threatening or indecent conduct or abusive, threatening, profane or indecent language.
  3. No person shall commit a nuisance, unreasonably disturb or annoy others, nor do any act amounting to a breach of the peace.
  4. Keep noise at a reasonable level. No person shall operate or use radios, phonographs, or other sound producing equipment in any area which is audible beyond the immediate vicinity so as to disturb any other persons.
  5. No person shall dress, undress, or indecently expose his or her person in any area of the preserve where they may be seen by any other person.

E. Fires, Fireworks, and Explosives

  1. Campfires are allowed only on Deer Island.
  2. Fires for the purposes of hunting or trapping are strictly prohibited.
  3. Fireworks are prohibited.
  4. No person shall bring into or have in the state-owned coastal preserve any explosive substance or device.
  5. In seasons of unusual dryness or excessive fire danger, smoking and fires may be prohibited anywhere within the preserves. Burn bans will be enforced.

F. Wildlife, Plants, and Archeology

  1. Leave natural, historical, and archeological items in place. Collecting natural or archeological objects, or removing, defacing or destroying any plant, animal, or mineral is prohibited.
  2. All birds of prey (eagles, hawks, osprey, owls, kites and vultures) and other nongame birds are protected and may not be hunted, molested, bought or sold.
  3. No animals, wild or otherwise, may be released into state-owned coastal preserves.
  4. No person may cut or saw any live or dead trees or their parts, with any type of equipment, power or otherwise, on state-owned coastal preserves, or remove any live or dead trees.
  5. Planting vegetation on state-owned coastal preserves is prohibited.
  6. The feeding of all wildlife, migratory waterfowl, or any feral animal is prohibited within the preserve.
  7. Using metal detectors and/or digging into the soil of state-owned coastal preserves are prohibited.

G. Trash and Waste

  1. All items (trash, litter etc.) brought into the coastal preserve are required to be packed up and taken out of the preserve upon leaving.
  2. It's recommended that campers use portable toilets. Otherwise dig a small "cat hole" (at least 6 inches deep) no less than 200 feet away from all water sources, campsites and trails. Be sure to cover these holes up completely and pack them down tight.
  3. Practice Leave No Trace.

H. Hunting and Fishing

  1. When using coastal preserve for hunting, fishing, or other recreational activities, one must abide by all federal, state, and local laws governing their activities.
  2. All persons participating in hunting or fishing on a coastal preserve, except those exempt from purchasing an annual hunting or fishing license, must carry on their person an annual statewide license.
  3. Sport fishing and the taking of shellfish must be done in accordance with state regulations.
  4. Target shooting is prohibited on preserve property.
  5. No hunting is permitted within 500 feet of nature trails, roadways or permanent structures, with the exception of archery hunting for deer with a safety zone of 200 feet.
  6. No firearms shall be permitted during the closed season on game birds and animals.
  7. Harassment of wildlife, including spotlighting, is prohibited.
  8. Construction of or hunting from any permanent stands or blinds is prohibited. Stands or blinds left on preserve property may be confiscated and disposed of by the DMR.
  9. The use of any type of wildlife feeder is prohibited.
  10. Planting of or hunting over a "food plot" is prohibited.

I. Off Road Vehicles

  1. Off-road motorized vehicles/ATVs are strictly prohibited on preserve property. Airboats must remain in the water at all times while in the state-owned coastal preserve areas.
  2. Parking is allowed in designated parking areas only.


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