September 21, 2017
By Florida Sportsman Editor
Consult the list before your visit.
The National Park Service (NPS) Eastern Incident Management Team currently has 334 laborers, saw teams, arborists, heavy equipment operators and other employees on the ground throughout South Florida, along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean clearing debris and working to safely reopen parks damaged by Hurricane Irma. The Incident Management Team is now in its second week of operations and is composed of National Park Service employees from 95 parks outside the affected areas, in 35 states.
All national parks in the Caribbean are currently closed and recovery efforts are on hold until Hurricane Maria passes. NPS employees and their families in the Caribbean are sheltering from Hurricane Maria.
The safety and support of all NPS employees working in the parks is the priority for the NPS response. Immediate objectives are to support employee emergency needs, conduct damage assessments, and remove debris in the affected areas.
Updates on damage assessments and recovery efforts are listed below. The public is reminded that many parks are closed to all use, including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, due to safety concerns during cleanup operations.
News from the field - September 20:
Caribbean National Parks
All national parks in the Caribbean are closed in preparation for Hurricane Maria. Damage assessments and recovery efforts will resume when the storm passes.
South Florida National Parks
Big Cypress National Preserve - CLOSED
· Sawyers are working along Turner River Road and in the Bear Island camping area.
· Except for the Loop Road Ranger Station, electrical power has not been restored. Generators are in use. · A press release has been issued reminding the public about recreational closures.
· Preserve staff continue to coordinate with local emergency operations.
Biscayne National Park - CLOSED
· A marine notice has been posted to notify mariners of hazards in the waters surrounding the park. The U.S. Coast Guard found lots of debris in water between park and islands.
· The assessment team found water in the Discovery Center; sheet rock has been removed to prevent mold.
· Plans are being developed to support an underwater evaluation/assessment team.
· Assessment teams are continuing to assess islands.
· Problems with Elliott Key water treatment are still being addressed.
· Repairs are being made to communications and network equipment.
· Staff are continuing to remove debris.
De Soto National Memorial - CLOSED
· Staff are continuing to remove debris, with 70 percent of the trails now cleared.
· New cracks have developed in the one of the park's notable gumbo limbo trees.
· Damage assessments continue.
Dry Tortugas National Park – PARTIALLY CLOSED
· Terrestrial areas of the park including all areas at Garden Key and Loggerhead Key remain closed to the public.
· Marine waters of the park to include Garden Key Harbor and Bird Key Harbor are open for access. A marine advisory is being issued advising mariners of hazards in the waters. Users of mooring buoys assume all risk.
· Damage assessments continue.
· Crews are on site today removing over 80 downed trees, and moving bricks and sand.
· One small NPS vessel at Key West was damaged during the storm.
Everglades National Park – PARTIALLY CLOSED
· Terrestrial areas of the park remain closed while park waters are open for access, to include commercial permit holders of Everglades National Park.
· Boaters should be advised that the Flamingo Marina is closed and no services are available there.
· Park staff have identified numerous derelict vessels along the Gulf Coast and in Florida Bay. These vessels will be posted with the National Crime Information Center.
· Saw crews are working in Shark Valley, Flamingo and Pine Island.
· The assessment team is working at the Flamingo housing area.
· All radio communications equipment is operational now except Lostman's.
· Air boat concessions will start operating as trails are assessed.
Atlantic Coast National Parks
Cumberland Island National Seashore (Ga.) - CLOSED
· The Coast Guard is taking the lead on cleaning up the St. Marys waterfront, working with the park and the city.
· Assessment teams continue their work on the island.
· Debris cleanup and removal continues island-wide.
· Saw crews and Arborist Incident Response teams are working on the island and may be working there for at least a week.
· An archeological assessment team is working on the island.
Fort Frederica National Monument (Ga.) - CLOSED
· The demonstration culinary and medicinal herb garden will need to be replanted and re-fenced, and needs a new palmetto hut.
· Visitor Center exhibits will need to be updated with additional artifacts from curatorial storage because items that had been on display and were exposed during the storm are now undergoing treatment off site.
· Two government vehicles were damaged by trees.
· Bloody Marsh debris clean-up continues.
Fort Matanzas National Monument (Fla.) - CLOSED
· Dock and boardwalk repairs will be needed before the historic fort can reopen.
· Saw teams will be working at the fort today.
· Debris removal and cleaning of the grounds continues.
Fort Pulaski National Monument (Ga.) - CLOSED
· Staff are working on reinstalling the sally port bridge.
· Trail cleanup continues.
· Visitor services areas of the park have no potable water.
· The water system needs major repairs.
· Damages assessments at the fort have been completed.
Fort Sumter National Monument (S.C.)
· Fort Sumter itself remains closed, all other sites are open.
· Removal of debris and mud at Fort Sumter continues.
· Staff are working to get electricity restored to the dock, repair damaged dock railings, and repair septic at the fort.
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve (Fla.)
· Fort Caroline Visitor Center and Cedar Point boat launch are open.
· Kingsley Plantation district is closed while cleanup efforts continue.
· The Cedar Point trail system is closed until downfall can be cleared.
· Theodore Roosevelt Area trails are closed until downfall can be cleared.
Additional closures exist throughout the Southeast Region, but local park employees are handling cleanup efforts. A full list of affect parks and updates on the status of these parks can be found at http://go.nps.gov/hurricane.