The Waterway may be open but according to the backcountry camping sites map all the sites inland north of Broad River are closed. Why this is so could be due to damage to chickees or sites ( most are small except Watson) or the loss of the toilet or… the loss of the permitting station. Flamingo doesnt issue permits north of the Broad River and if you start at Flamingo they have to call to the Gulf Coast Ranger Station. Which currently isn’t there. ( the grounds are open for launching though)You don’t want to aim for a chickee unless you are sure you have camping room. Several parties on a small platform isnt going to be productive: there is no permitting process in place yet for the Gulf Coast jurisdiction campsites.
You’ll note beach sites are either yellow or green… Green means there never has been a toilet and there is room and yellow indicates either more restricted room than used to be or the porta pottie that used to be there is now circulating in the ocean. Beaches in general are more tolerant of crowds. I’d want to bring a wag bag system for sure. Your deposit at low tide does not necessarily go off sailing in the ocean. It can wind up at your favorite sitting spot.
We are going at the end of February for five days. It may be that we cannot do the route we want : Jewel, Pavilion, Turkey, Darwin, Lopez… I like Charley Creek. Its always full of birds but like the Nightmare its constricted. If we cant we’ll do Camp Lulu and Whitehorse and Gullivan Key perhaps launching from Collier Seminole.
I don’t have any on site answer. Time will tell.
Here is a site that may have some answers soon…