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PENSACOLA BEACH – The head of the Gulf Islands National Seashore wants to set the record straight about whether you can bring a shovel and pail to the beach.
Last week an officer stopped a Channel Three News crew from getting video of the oil under the sand.
Once again we’re out here on the Gulf Islands National Seashore. I wanted to show you this sand castle out here that some one had abandoned and you can see that while they were building it, they encountered this, quite a few gooey tarballs out here on the Gulf Side Beach. We were told last week, that doing something like this, building a sand castle, was illegal.
Pat Gonzales/ US Fish and Wildlife: “You can not come out here and do your own investigation if you’re looking for oil product.”
That’s the greeting we got from US Fish and Wildlife:
Pat Gonzales/ US Fish and Wildlife: “Are you digging for oil product?” Thomas: “Not necessarily I just want to see what’s there.” Pat Gonzales/ US Fish and Wildlife: “Okay, I’ll tell you what. If you’re not going to cooperate with me I’m going to get a National Parks Service Officer out here. I’ll get a law enforcement guy out here to talk to you.”
Officer A. Negron/National Parks Service: “It’s a National Park. You can’t dig.” Thomas: “So no sand castles, none of that huh?” Officer A. Negron/National Parks Service: “That’s correct.”
Mark Scarbrough/Tourist: “Sounds like they got something to hide, doesn’t it.”
Cindy Scarbrough/Tourist: “I guess they’re trying to hide it.”
These tourists have that opinion after they heard we were told it’s illegal to dig at the beach.
Dan Brown/Gulf Islands Superintendent: “Well, that’s true and not true.”
Park Superintendent Dan Brown says you can’t dig in areas where you’re likely to find artifacts, like the Fort Pickens compound.
He doesn’t know why we were stopped on the beach.
Dan Brown/Gulf Islands Superintendent: “There’s no regulation or anything that would prohibit people from digging other than for the things already mentioned that would disturb natural and cultural features.”
Dan Thomasemail@example.com: “So then, what happened last week when they told us that?”
Dan Brown/Gulf Islands Superintendent: “Um, well, probably some incomplete information on the part of those field staff.”
Dan Thomasfirstname.lastname@example.org: “Were they told to stop people from digging by anyone in the Federal Government?”
Dan Brown/Gulf Islands Superintendent: “I don’t have any knowledge of that. No.”
Dan Thomasemail@example.com: “So they weren’t ordered to go out and stop a news crew from trying to get a story out.”
Dan Brown/Gulf Islands Superintendent: “I’m not aware of that, no.”
Dan Thomasfirstname.lastname@example.org: “And once again, just to be clear the Superintendent of the park says people are welcome to come out here and build a sand castle on the beach.