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Last Barriers

Last Barriers: Photographs of Wilderness in the Gulf Islands National Seashore

Donald Muir Bradburn
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 144
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  • Book Info
    Last Barriers
    Book Description:

    Rarely has a book of photography performed a more poignant and immediate service in preserving a natural Mississippi wonder. The Mississippi Gulf Coast barrier islands captured the heart and mind of Donald Bradburn (b. 1924) in childhood. He became fascinated with the natural history and ornithology he witnessed. To him, the islands, especially Horn Island with its dark forests, high dunes, and deserted beaches, represented unbounded freedom and the ideal of a timeless world.

    Years later, when the National Park Service threatened to open the islands to "almost unlimited opportunities for camping, picnicking, water skiing, boating, bicycling, hiking, and bird watching," Bradburn became an activist for preservation, focusing on saving Horn Island and Petit Bois Island as unchanged wilderness. In addition to supporting legislation that would keep both islands part of the National Wilderness System, Bradburn photographed the islands and their plants to show conservationist groups and individuals what was at stake and motivate them to join the fight. Eventually, through his efforts and those of others, Congress passed the National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978, which designated Horn and Petit Bois Islands as wilderness. For a time, the legislation saved a place shimmering with natural grace. After the fright and insult of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Bradburn's photographs are an even more deeply felt act of preservation.

    Last Barriers: Photographs from the Gulf Islands National Seashoreis a collection of 120 images taken of the Gulf Coast islands that preoccupied his life and photography. The large majority of these are of Horn Island long before Hurricane Katrina and include landscapes in various weather conditions and during different times of the day, flora and fauna, and various habitats, seen either close-up or from afar. Each is accompanied by a detailed caption stating the date taken, the biological information of the species and plants depicted, and landscape descriptions. In a personal essay Bradburn movingly reflects on his attachment to these island wonders and records the history of the efforts to save them.

    eISBN: 978-1-60473-982-4
    Subjects: Art & Art History, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-6)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 7-10)
  3. SAVING HORN AND PETIT BOIS ISLANDS The History of a Campaign for Wilderness
    (pp. 11-24)

    For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the natural world and its denizens. I grew up in the city, where the most easily observed fauna of the natural world were birds, so that I, along with a small cadre of friends, became an avid bird watcher at a time when such an activity was considered distinctly odd. I looked forward to weekends when we would ride our bicycles to the New Orleans lakefront (then largely undeveloped) or when some adult would drive us out beyond the city limits where, in the woods and swamps, lurked...

    (pp. 25-146)
    (pp. 147-147)

    In the bill that established the wilderness, the beaches were all included but not the submerged lands, though the National Seashore boundaries extend out one mile from shore or to the intracoastal canal in the Mississippi Sound, whichever is the closest. The National Park Service interprets this as allowing motorized three-wheeler patrol below mean high tide line in addition to boat patrol. A small boat dock on the north shore adjacent to the ranger station allows for the landing of supplies and is a site for the rangers’ outboard boat protection. The only exclusion in the wilderness allows for the...