NPS Incident Management Team Hurricane Update for South Florida and the Atlantic Coast, Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Date: October 3, 2017
Contact: Murray Shoemaker, 435-260-2422
Contact: Sandy Snell-Dobert, 970-481-5835
Contact: Dana Soehn, 865-712-4928

Incident information

Photos of Hurricane Irma damage and response


Homestead, Fla. – More than 252 NPS employees from 91 national parks and offices across 36 states continue to support parks in South Florida and the Atlantic Coast to help them ready for reopening. Parks plan to open more areas throughout the week as stabilization work continues.


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 3:

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.
  • 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.


Biscayne National Park – PARTIALLY OPEN

  • Park Employees returned to work today in preparation for reopening this week.


Everglades National Park – PARTIALLY OPEN

  • The Homestead visitor entrance is currently open to Paurotis Pond, 25 miles south of the main entrance.
  • Shark Valley is having challenges with the continuing rise of water. Over the weekend sandbags were placed around the entrance station to protect it. Staff is monitoring this situation and working to protect structures as well as employee safety as the water levels in the district are of concern. The bookstore has removed their inventory from the building.
  • At Flamingo, crews are still working on housing units, as well as cleaning up the campground and boat ramps.
  • A structural engineer assessment has been requested for the Gulf Coast Visitor Center in order to develop a temporary shoring plan to stabilize the building for removal of NPS property.   
  • Clearing operations continue along the main road toward Flamingo in addition to operations in the Flamingo, Shark Valley, and Gulf Coast areas.
  • Saw crews are continuing work in the Long Pine Key campground and on Sandfly Island in the Gulf Coast District clearing the trail around the island.
  • Crews are assessing the status of chickees in the backcountry.
  • Park boat operators continue marking underwater debris navigation hazards and displaced vessels.

Atlantic Coast National Parks

Cumberland Island National Seashore (Ga.) – PARTIALLY OPEN (Museum only)

  • The Cumberland Island Mainland Museum is open.
  • Saw crews continue to work to clear the main road, the River Trail, and the Plum Orchard area on the island.


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.) – PARTIALLY OPEN

  • All employees are back at work in preparation for a full reopening this week.
  • Today, the park opened the Visitor Center and Museum only.
  • Electrical work at the water tank area and RV pad has been completed.
  • The park is still awaiting the replacement of the water tank.


Additional parks are closed along the Atlantic coast, but are handling closures with park staff. For updates on the status of all parks visit



Last updated: October 3, 2017

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