Tyndall Waterway Closure Update

MEXICO BEACH-- Like many who attended Wednesday nights meeting in Mexico Beach, Dan Strickland fears he unknown. He's afraid that if citizens give the government an inch, it will take a mile.

"Now they just want to dot the i's and cross the t's so that we the people won't have a right to protest in the future," said Strickland.

It was protest that stopped the air force's original proposal last spring.
Tyndall officials say they took into account the fears and ideas of citizens when they drafted this new plan.

"At the last town hall meeting we had, a good point about the need for an established reassessment came up and we were able to take a hard look at it and we actually incorporated it into the new plan," said Major Anthony McCarty.

The latest proposal would give the air force the authorities to shut down waterways adjacent to the base, in the event of a security threat.
But they must re-access the threat every 48 hours to decide if waterways will remain closed.

Opponents such as the "friends of shell island" say it's a start. But they want Shell island and Crooked island removed from the restricted zones.

Air force officials say they don't anticipate a need for such a sunset clause and that the closures would only happen under the most extreme circumstances, like a 9/11 type threat.

"And there has never been an incident that has occurred where i would feel like i would need to go and enact a temporary restricted area," said Major McCarty.

"Everyone gets all hysterical because of the 9/11. I'm so tired of it. I mean come on folks let's all rally around this thing, let's keep what is ours," says Strickland.