HUNTING ISLAND, SC - Due to damage and debris from Hurricane Matthew, Hunting Island State Park will remain closed through Dec. 31 of this year.
Reservations are being canceled and refunded.
According to the South Carolina State Parks Facebook page, Edisto Beach and Hunting Island state parks suffered the greatest damage. It will take months of work before these parks will reopen.
Hunting Island is the number one most visited state park in South Carolina. It sees about two million visitors each year helping
Aerial views of the island during the storm showed that it was pretty much underwater and that the beach was completely washed away. Both the county and the City of Beaufort have been pushing in recent years for money to re-nourish the beach, but now they're thinking it may need to be completely restored after they hit it took from Hurricane Matthew.
WTOC spoke to the president of Friends of Hunting Island, which is one of those support groups who explained why the island will not be open until 2017.
"Nothing can be done. Power lines are still down. Their rangers are still not all back. There are cabins where the rangers live in, those need to be restored so they can come back. And there is still four feet of standing water in the center of the island," said Friends of Hunting Island President Denise Parsick.
There is some concern about the wildlife there also. Hundreds of trees fell on the island causing much of the bird population to relocate. But the sea turtles were not affected because their nesting season ended before the storm.
If you have pending reservations at any of these parks and need more information, please contact the call center at 1.866.345.7275 for assistance.