Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Camping at Grand Isle SP in Louisiana

     Since hurricane Isaac last year, camping on the beach at Grand Isle State Park, in Grand Isle, LA has been prohibited because of a persistant sand errosion problem at the beach.  The sand is now being replaced and beach camping is set to reopen April 1, 2013, said Jacques Berry, communication director for Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne.
     The full service (water, electricity) campsites behind the dunes, reopened shortly after the storm and are open now.
      All camping at Grand Isle SP is reservation only.  You can get a site if you drive up and one is open but you must pay the $6 reservation fee required of all walk-ups camping in Louisiana State Parks.  Developed sites are $28 per night, in season, which is now through October.  Add the pay-once-per-visit $6 reservation fee to this.  The telephone number of the fee station at the entrance to Grand Isle is: 985.787.2559.  The camping reservation number is 1-877-226-7652.
     Driving directions: Once on the island, stay on LA 1 and continue to drive east,past most of everything, almost but not quite to the eastern end of the island.  There LA 1 veers to the left.  You continue straight on Admiral Craik Dr.  The entrance to the park in on your right, the side the beach is on.  Entrance fee for day use is $1.
     A note to primitive campers, when the camping on the beach is permitted again: there is no driving on the beach so all your camping gear must be hauled from the parking lot, over the levee to the beach camping site-the closest site being about 800 feet from the parking lot.  Use whatever you want to haul your gear, carts, wagons, whatever, just no driving on the beach.
     Here is the contact information.  The telephone number for camping reservations is 1.877.226.7652.  The website for the park is grandisle@crt.la.gov.  The Facebook address is www.facebook.com/grandislestatepark.
     The park offers lots to do for day trippers.  There is sun bathing on the khaki colored sand on the beach and swimming is permitted in the Gulf of Mexico though some of the beach is closed to swimming.  Watch the signs. There are no lifeguards.   There are bathhouses and outdoor showers to wash off the sand.  No glass containers in the park at all, not just no glass on the beaches.  No pets allowed on the beach and in the buildings.
     The 150 acre park is largely salt water marsh; a tidal wetland growing in salty water.  A trail, nearly three miles long, winds through the marsh for a close up view of some of the 300 bird species that live or pass through the park.  The viewing tower offering sweeping views of the beach, the marsh at the park and Barataria Pass has been rebuilt since hurricane Katrina and is open.
     The beaches on the seven mile long island are checked every day for remaining traces of oil from the BP spill two years ago and none have been found recently, say the folks living on the island.

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