Now, according to Dawn Dawson-House, director of communications for the SC Department of Parks Recreation & Tourism, Hunting Island will most likely remain closed for the rest of the year, with the campground probably reopening at the beginning of 2018.
We, like everyone else, were worried about Hunting Island as Irma approached and knew that she couldn’t handle another intense storm. Now our fears have become reality.
Most of the damage was caused by flooding from the storm surge and heavy rains. Roads are impassable throughout the park. Parking areas are flooded. The campground electrical system and utilities were infiltrated by saltwater, requiring replacement. In order for us to make repairs, the park will be closed for the remainder of the 2017 calendar year. The Nature Center will reopen this Friday, September 15, and serve as an information hub for the park. If you have a reservation at Hunting Island between now and the end of 2017, you will be contacted and a full refund will be issued.
When asked if the closure was set in stone, Dawn said “some parts or even all of the park could reopen sooner than planned, or sadly, later than planned. We just don’t know for sure at this point.”
Irma, a storm some 500 miles wide, after tearing up the Caribbean, the Florida Keys and then Miami, made landfall on Sunday afternoon at Marco Island on Florida’s southwest coast and then proceeded north at a slow pace which gave Beaufort a full day’s worth of a battering from her wrath and knocked out power to tens of thousands locally and caused widespread flood damage all over Beaufort County.
Check out some live video taken this morning, by Wade Livingston of the Beaufort Gazette.
Photos of damage provided by SC Dept of Parks, Recreation & Tourism