Due to Hurricane Matherw, Huntiong Island State Park
will be CLOSED until further notice. All activities are cancelled.

From Daniel Gambrell - Hunting Island State Park manager:
THE FIRST QUESTION people asked me after Hurricane Matthew was, “How did the island do?” But as most of you know, we took a severe hit. All employees evacuated and no one was hurt. We need to remember that taking the full impact of a hurricane is the important work that a barrier island does. It makes the impact less severe for those living farther inland.
When you visit Hunting Island again when it opens, you will find many things different. We are still in the early stages of damage assessment, however the reality is that we have lost some critical infrastructure including parking areas, camp sites and restroom facilities. We remain optimistic that Hunting Island will be back and be even a better state park. Hunting Island is still a special place and the opportunities to showcase this South Carolina treasure will be paramount.
Hunting Island State Park was the hardest hit of all SC state parks. When we went in after the hurricane, it was hard to tell where we were, because the landscape was completely changed. Most roads were underwater by as much as three feet, and there were so many trees down that it took us four hours to walk from the Park entrance to the Lighthouse. Once we arrived, the iconic Hunting Island Lighthouse stood tall and strong! The Lighthouse compound, by the way, was the least damaged area on Hunting Island.

Fom 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



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We need only two things to provide the services and projects you see described on this website: your participation and your tax-deductible membership fees. For one $40 membership contribution, you and your family can join Friends of Hunting Island and have unlimited access to the park for one year. All members are encouraged to participate in any of our on-going projects. If you do not wish to join, but want to donate to our efforts, click here to make a tax-deductible donation to the Friends of Hunting Island.