From an article the Beaufort Gazette by Stephen Fastenau and Jeff Kidd
Devastation is everywhere. Trees were toppled. Several of them smashed through public restrooms and the park store. Storm surge obliterated dunes near the campground and destroyed toilets and showers.
It will be months before the public again has full access to Hunting Island State Park, one of South Carolina’s most popular.
“In the meantime, it’s heartbreaking to see,” said S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism director Duane Parrish, who toured the park Friday with the help of a red Honda all-terrain vehicle.
Hunting Island’s nature center and fishing pier will reopen with normal hours on Wednesday, even though the end of the pier was damaged in the storm and will be blocked off.
And the rest of the park’s 5,000 acres of beach and maritime forest will be closed through at least the end of the year as crews restore power, repair septic systems, patch some buildings and, possibly, relocate others. When the park reopens, some visitors probably won’t recognize many once-familiar spots, Parrish said.
A preliminary assessment of the destruction:
▪ Sand and salt damaged the park’s septic and electric systems.
▪ A tidal creek formed and cut up the beach, carrying away all the sand from the parking lot near the main bath house, where a sidewalk now overhangs rippling water.
▪ Long buried concrete pyramids on the beach, which supported a water tower during the 1950s, are now exposed.
▪ Trees are down throughout the park. Many were ripped from the ground along the beach.
▪ The lighthouse, visitors center and gift shop appear OK but will be inspected.
More damage could be on the way. An unusually high tide — known as a king tide — is coming Saturday. Park officials expect another round of flooding and erosion.
“We’re more exposed now than we ever have been,” state parks director Phil Gaines said. “It’s the nature of a barrier island.”
It might be a week or more before the full extent of the damage is known, and just as long to calculate the financial impact.
Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/community/beaufort-news/article108319397.html#storylink=cpy
SUNDAY, JANURY 1, 2017
Annual Pelican Plunge. At the North Beach by the lighthouse - Watch for details.
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