Hunting Island State Park and beach has taken quite a beating over the past couple of years with Matthew and Irma swinging through the Lowcountry in 2016 & 2017. The storms combined to close the park for several months and decided we needed 88 less camping sites at the campground and then took all of our sand dunes away before all was said and done.
For over a year, park rangers and volunteers worked tirelessly to clear the damage; tons of sand, trees and other debris along with fixing roads and over 100 campsites. Then they used some newly created empty space to build 25 new reservable picnic and parking spots.
Parts of the park and beaches reopened in June of 2017 from Matthew then closed again until October 2017 because of Irma and the campground reopened in February 2018.
Now comes the good news. Park manager J.W. Weatherford told us of the plans to make things even better later this year.
“Beach renourishment will start this fall and will encompass 1.8 miles from the campground to South Beach with 1.3 million cubic yards of sand being pumped in from a sandbar out in the ocean,” said Weatherford.
Also, when reimbursement from FEMA is received, the roads will all be paved.
“During this fall’s project, the beach will only be closed in sections as the renourishment is being done. Longer range plans are to repair the fishing pier and eventually build more cabins,” he added.
Renourishment is needed to combat the loss of beach by erosion which, before 2017, would typically gouge the beach at a rate of 15 to 30 feet per year. Over the past 30 years, before 2017, an estimated 40 buildings were lost because of chronic beach erosion, as well as numerous roads, infrastructure, water lines, electrical lines and more; all the result of a barrier constantly eroding and shifting like barrier islands do.
Cabins are a tradition at Hunting Island with things just not being the same since the 1990s; and new ones being built are certainly a welcome addition for locals and visitors alike who want to enjoy a nice beach vacation.