Ship Island Preserve
The primary boundary of this 2,051-acre preserve located in Harrison County, is one mile North and South of the island and is bounded on the East and West by the Alabama state line and the Gulfport Mississippi shipping channel. The boundary also includes the flats around and between the islands. This barrier island is currently in 3 parts; connected by narrow tidal sandbars. The island is 8 miles in length and the terrain is low and sandy except at the east end. Because of the Ship Island Ferryboat that runs twice a day during the summer months, locals and tourists use West Ship Island for recreation. There are restroom facilities, a snack bar, a ranger station, and a Civil War fort (Fort Massachusetts) located on the island. East Ship Island, however, is not heavily used by tourists. This unique location provides excellent feeding, resting, and wintering habitat for numerous types of migratory bird species, such as the Brown Pelican, White Pelican, and Cormorants. This area is also known to be rookery for the Black Skimmer. The island is part of the Gulf Island National Seashore owned and managed by the National Park Service.
Rare/Endangered Species:
  • Pelecanus erythrorhynchos American White Pelican
  • P. occidentalis Brown Pelican
  • Panion haliaetus Osprey
  • Circus cyaneus Northern Harrier
  • Falco sparverius American Kestrel
  • Charadrius alexandrinus Snowy Plover
  • C. melodus Piping Plover
  • S. maxima Royal Tern
  • S. antillerum Least Tern
  • Alligator mississippiensis American Alligator
  • Nerodia clarkii clarkii Gulf Salt Marsh Snake
  • Trichechus manatus Manatee
  • Paronychia erecta Gulf Rockrose
  • Helianthemum arenicola Gulf Rockrose
  • Ipomoea pes-caprae Railroad Vine
  • Quercus myrtifolia Myrtle-Leaf Oak
  • Avicennia nitida Black Mangrove
  • Paspalum monostachyum Gulfdune Paspalum
  • Caretta caretta Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Breeding/Nursery Area:
  • Black Skimmer Rookery
  • Atlantic Loggerhead Turtle Nesting
(Sources of Information: Boyd, J. L., et. al., 1995. An inventory of pond fauna of the Gulf Islands National Seashore with parasitological and trophic observations. Unpublished Report to the National Park Service.)
For Comments and/or Additional Information on the Ship Island Preserve:
Gulf Islands National Seashore
3500 Park Road
Ocean Springs, MS 39564 

Contact Ship Island Preserve

MS Department of Marine Resources
1141 Bayview Avenue
Biloxi, Mississippi  39530
Phone: (228) 374-5000
Toll Free: (800) 374-3449
Fax: (228) 374-5005


Service Area

Statewide service provider in:
  • Mississippi

To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator