By now you have heard Hurricane Matthew left his mark at several of our state parks. Once tall, stately oaks lay uprooted and broken, and pine trees that once leaned with the wind are now twisted into splinters. Roads and campsites once covered with pollen and pine needles are now covered with water. Sand that covered miles of beach now buries a campground. Hurricane Matthew has left his mark. Several inland parks sustained damage from Matthew, such as Santee with significant tree damage and Little Pee Dee with the failure of the dam at Lake Norton, but it is without question the parks along the coast took the hardest hit.
Myrtle Beach sustained damage to the decking of the pier but the structure is sound and repairs will be made this winter. Huntington Beach’s causeway has been damaged and repairs are underway with plans for the park to reopen just in time for our annual Halloween festival. At Edisto Beach, the trees are broken and the ocean campground is covered in three to four feet of sand that was once part of a beach filled with shells and visitors enjoying a day in the sun. Then there’s Hunting Island. Trees fell in patterns as the counter-clockwise motion of a Category 2 hurricane made its way along the Carolina coast. Sand and water was found in places where it is not supposed to be and some facilities that were supposed to be in a certain place are not. The damage is devastating and I must admit after my first few days of assessing damage and seeing Matthew’s destruction, it was discouraging.
The challenges are real and we’ll need your help and support. How can you help? Keep an eye on our website as we continue to reopen parks. Visit your state parks, buy a park passport and be patient with us as we recover. And as always, continue to enjoy and make memories at your state parks.