Eglin to Increase Security, Enforcement on Local Beach

The 96th Security Forces Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base has launched a campaign to deter trespassing in the Santa Rosa Island Closed Test Area, aiming to protect federal property and reduce risks associated with unauthorized access.

In response to what they say are escalating trespassing incidents, the 96th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) at Eglin Air Force Base has launched an enforcement campaign to deter unauthorized access to the Santa Rosa Island Closed Test Area. 

According to a press release from Team Eglin’s Public Affairs Unit, This initiative aims to safeguard federal property and mitigate risks posed by trespassers.

The 96th SFS has bolstered patrols within the closed test area and prominently displayed signage warning against trespassing. Major Andrew McFee, commander of the 96th SFS, emphasized the importance of adhering to these regulations, citing the area’s designation as an active military range with inherent hazards.

“People put themselves at risk every time they walk past a ‘no trespass’ sign,” stated Major Andrew McFee. “This area is an active test range with all the associated hazards.”

Trespassers, whether by land or water, will face a fine of $65 for each violation. The closed test area extends west of El Matador Condominiums in Fort Walton Beach to Navarre Beach, marked by barriers and clear signage denoting restricted access.

Major McFee cautioned against disregarding these measures, highlighting the potential threats posed to individuals and the environment. “People trespassing in the closed test area not only endanger themselves but also jeopardize a variety of natural communities and endangered plant and animal species,” he added.

Eric Sculthorpe, Environmental Management branch chief of the 96th Civil Engineer Group, echoed these concerns, stressing the importance of protecting fragile habitats critical to local ecosystems. “Eglin’s natural resources office works hard to protect the environment in our closed test areas,” noted Sculthorpe. “Damage caused by trespassers can have lasting repercussions on our wildlife and plant species.”

RELATED: Will Eglin Reopen ‘Redneck Beach’ – Okaloosa Commissioners Hope the Answer Is ‘Yes.’ 

The 96th Security Forces Squadron’s enforcement efforts aim to promote public safety and preserve the integrity of the Santa Rosa Island Closed Test Area. 

As the patrols intensify and fines are enforced, community members are urged to respect the established boundaries and contribute to conserving this vital ecosystem.

For more information on trespassing regulations and safety guidelines within Eglin Air Force Base’s restricted areas, individuals are encouraged to contact the 96th Security Forces Squadron or visit their website.

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