Homestead, Fla. – Several national parks affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria have reopened, at least partially, and were able to welcome visitors over the weekend. Visitors were able to explore places like the popular Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park, Adams Key at Biscayne National Park, and Dry Tortugas National Park.
Parks plan to open more areas throughout the week as work continues. More than 256 NPS employees from 92 national parks and offices across 36 states continue to support to seven parks in South Florida and the Atlantic Coast to help them ready for reopening. These parks welcome over 8.5 million visitors annually which support nearly 9,000 jobs in local communities and over $ 586 million in visitor spending.
The public is reminded that many parks remain closed to all use, including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, due to safety concerns during cleanup operations. As parks reopen, please be alert for water on roads, particularly during heavy rains. Debris may still wash onto roads and trails.
News from the field – October 1:
South Florida National Parks
Big Cypress National Preserve – CLOSED
- The preserve remains closed to all visitor use and access is limited to land owners only.
- Park staff is tentatively scheduled to return to work on Tuesday, October 3.
- The unpaved portion of the Loop Road remains closed due to downed trees. Clearing operations were temporarily suspended due to the presence of poisonwood. Equipment has been ordered to help accomplish safe debris removal in this area.
- Saw crews continued clearing Watson Campground, Sand Fly Campground, and the Kirby Sorter walkway.
Biscayne National Park – PARTIALLY OPEN
- Crews wrapped up cleaning operations around the Convoy Point grounds.
- Saw crews continued removing damaged trees and limbs.
- Crews worked to stabilize docks.
- Park Employees are returning to work on Monday, October 2, in preparation for a park reopening later this week.
Everglades National Park – PARTIALLY OPEN
- The Homestead visitor entrance is from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily, providing visitor access to the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Clearing operations continue along the main road toward Flamingo. The road is currently open to Personas Pond.
- The park will close at night for safety and security purposes.
- Saw crews continued clearing debris in the Flamingo, Shark Valley, and Gulf Coast areas.
- Park boat operators continue marking underwater debris in the Gulf Coast District.
- Park utilities crews are working on restoring water and sewage treatment plants including the lift station. Currently, restrooms and water are available only at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center.
- All other areas of the park remain closed including Flamingo, Shark Valley, and Gulf Coast.
- Crews continue working in the Flamingo area to remove mud from affected areas
Atlantic Coast National Parks
Cumberland Island National Seashore (Ga.) – PARTIALLY OPEN (Museum only)
- The Cumberland Island Mainland Museum is open.
- Due to the continued closure of Cumberland Island National Seashore, the park is cancelling camping reservations through October 18.
- Crews continue to clean the visitor center, museum, and warehouse on the mainland.
Fort Matanzas National Monument (Fla.) – PARTIALLY OPEN
- Visitor Center area of the park remains closed pending removal of hazard limbs and trees.
- Beach and Island areas of the park are open to the public.
- The fort will remain inaccessible to the public until repairs to ferry boats can be completed.
Fort Pulaski National Monument (Ga.) – CLOSED
- All employees returned to work today in preparation for reopening the park later this week.
- Water tank replacement and electrical work is planned for Monday and Tuesday.
Additional parks are closed along the Atlantic coast, but are handling closures with park staff. For updates on the status of all parks visit http://go.nps.gov/hurricane.