Buy a permit before accessing the Eglin reservation

  • Published
  • By Col. Dean Clemons
  • 96th Air Base Wing Commander
Eglin natural resources personnel maintain 280,000 acres for various outdoor recreation activities such as hunting, camping and fishing in compatibility with Eglin mission requirements, but you aren't granted access to those areas simply because you are an I.D. card carrying active-duty military or civilian member of the Eglin workforce. 

For example, as you travel west along Lewis Turner Boulevard, you often see people jogging or biking up and down Ranger Camp Road. This reservation area is open to the public, but you need an Eglin recreation permit to access it.

The range or reservation area is different from Eglin main base in this regard because the Air Armament Center has large areas on the 464,000-acre reservation where it conducts various types of weapons and munitions testing. These are restricted areas similar to the flight line in that they are off-limits to any unauthorized personnel.

Areas open to public access often border right up against these restricted areas, such as the popular Ranger Camp Road area and the restricted area associated with Auxiliary Field 6. Department of Defense police routinely monitor these areas to prevent mission compromise or safety incidents.

Jackson Guard, located along Highway 85 North in Niceville, Fla., is where you can purchase the appropriate permit for the type of outdoor activity you want to conduct on the Eglin reservation. For general recreation access to the reservation, all you need is a $7 Eglin recreation permit. You will be provided a map that displays all the opened and closed areas for public access.

Part of the permitting process includes watching a short unexploded ordnance awareness training video. This video discusses how to identify and report unexploded ordnance (UXO) should you come across UXO while on the reservation. It also identifies the warning signs you'll see posted near restricted areas.

Civilian violators of this permitting policy should understand that they can receive a federal violation notice and can incur fines starting at $35, depending on the severity of the offense. In addition to the fines, violators can receive a suspension of their recreation privileges for seven days up to five years, depending on the severity of the offense.

For active-duty military members who violate this policy, an Air Force Form 3545, Incident Report, will be forwarded to their commander who can administer appropriate disciplinary action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Active duty military members can also receive a suspension of their recreation privileges.

For more information about recreation permits, please call the Jackson Guard permit sales desk at 850-882-4165.