I'm on the mailing list for our Local Audubon Society and I just got this email. I am only going to share a part of it with you but if you are an outdoors person who enjoys Grand Isle you will like to hear this.
Posted on 12/15/2008 on www.louisiana.gov
Grand Isle: Governor Bobby Jindal announced at a press conference in Grand Isle that Elmer's Island, a once popular destination for coastal fishermen, campers and other outdoor enthusiasts is open again for public recreational use. The state is opening up 250 acres of Elmer's Island for public use after extensive title research found that this portion of the island is the property of Louisiana.
Governor Jindal was joined by Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham as well as Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities Director and Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chairman Garret Graves, who highlighted several coastal restoration projects both on and near Elmer’s Island that will work to restore beaches and marshes severely damaged by four hurricanes in the last three years.
"Louisiana is Sportsman’s Paradise – and Elmer's Island is certainly one of our state's jewels – and we are excited to announce that it is now open to the public,” said Governor Jindal. "The state will keep this area as a recreation spot and a wildlife sanctuary – while also allowing fishing and bird watching. Louisiana is committed to making sure the beaches and marshes of Elmer’s and surrounding areas are restored and enhanced.'
Governor Jindal declared that LDWF will manage Elmer’s Island as a Wildlife Refuge with boat access to the beach allowed immediately. Efforts will continue to negotiate a right-of-way for a road that will connect the beach to LA Highway 1 to allow vehicular access to the beach in the future.
“After exhaustive legal research, it has been determined that the Goat Island property, which is the barrier island portion of the property generally referred to as Elmer’s Island, is state land,” said LWDF Secretary Barham. “By designating it a wildlife refuge, the property will be available for fishing and outdoor activities including bird watching, shell collection and nature photography. The only permit needed for site use will be a fishing license for those who choose to do so.”
Elmer’s was a commercial campground and fishing area from 1970-2000. For a small daily fee, fishermen, campers and other outdoor enthusiasts were allowed access to the beach on a narrow road through marsh from Hwy. 1. However, that access was closed following the death of the owner of the access road.
Efforts have been made over the last five years by the state legislature and past administrations to purchase Elmer's Island to allow for public fishing and recreation with no success. The state will continue working with the various property owners in the Elmer's Island vicinity to acquire much of the area for coastal restoration efforts and recreational use.
In addition to opening up Elmer’s Island for recreational use, the Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration is also working to restore the beach and wetlands in the area to repair significant damage caused by the four hurricanes that have impacted the area over the past three years.
Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike have all battered the beach, dunes and wetlands of the area known as the Caminada Headlands, a 12-mile stretch of beach and marsh from Grand Isle west to Fourchon.
The Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration is dedicating $71 million over the next two years to a large-scale restoration effort for the area.
“Restoring our islands and beaches is of the utmost importance,” said Coastal Activities Director Garret Graves. “These areas serve as our first line of defense for approaching tropical storms and hurricanes and they also provide essential habitat for bird and marine life.”
A $27 million restoration project on East Grand Terre Island, located less than five miles from the eastern end of Grand Isle, is scheduled to begin in April 2009.
In all, state coastal restoration and protection officials have dedicated over $400 million to the restoration of marshes and beaches in this area of Louisiana over the next two years.