Homestead, Fla. – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Sen. Marco Rubio, and Rep. Brian Mast visited Everglades National Park today to view hurricane damage. They also stopped by the Incident Command Post in Homestead for a briefing with the NPS Intermountain Incident Management Team coordinating the bureau’s response to Hurricane Irma in south Florida and along the Atlantic coast.
National parks in the southeast U.S. are gradually opening as stabilization continues. The public is reminded that some areas within the parks remain closed to all use, including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, due to safety concerns during cleanup operations. As these areas 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 7:
South Florida National Parks
Big Cypress National Preserve – PARTIALLY OPEN
- Big Cypress National Preserve’s Oasis Visitor Center is open 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.
- Midway, Monument, and Burns Lake Campgrounds are open.
- The Swamp Welcome Center remains closed at this time. Repairs are underway.
- The Stairsteps Unit of Big Cypress National Preserve remains closed to all recreational access, including hunting, until water levels go down.
- Visitors to the preserve should expect conditions to include high water levels, downed trees, and ongoing restoration efforts. Recreational users should be prepared to turn around.
- Landowners may continue to access private property and should expect downed trees along trails.
Everglades National Park – PARTIALLY OPEN
- The Homestead visitor entrance is open to Flamingo. There are no facilities available at this time. Portable rest rooms are available. Boats may now be launched at the Flamingo ramps. Night closures will remain in place. The roadway is open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Nighttime closure is at West Lake. Gas and food services are not available.
- Utility crews continue to stabilize water treatment facilities in Flamingo.
- Construction crews continue to stabilize facilities in Flamingo.
- Saw crews are removing damaged limbs and trees from Flamingo campground.
- Large park signs along the main road are being reinstalled.
- Park boat operators continue marking underwater debris navigation hazards and displaced vessels in park waters.
- Shark Valley remains closed due to high water and the area will be monitored for future mitigations if needed to protect infrastructure.
Atlantic Coast National Parks
Cumberland Island National Seashore (Ga.) – PARTIALLY OPEN (Museum only)
- The Cumberland Island Mainland Museum is open. The visitor center is closed.
- Clearing operations by the arborist crew and saw crew are expected to be complete this weekend.
- Camping reservations are cancelled through November 1.
- The managed hunt that was scheduled for October 28th and 29th is cancelled.
Fort Matanzas National Monument (Fla.) – PARTIALLY OPEN
- The Visitor Center area 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 dock and ferry boats can be completed.
Fort Pulaski National Monument (Ga.) – OPEN
- The Visitor Center and Museum are currently open.
- The park’s water system is not operating in the historic area of the park. Water is not available in and around Fort Pulaski and the visitor center comfort station is closed. Portable restrooms are available.
For updates on the status of all parks visit http://go.nps.gov/hurricane.
Last updated: October 7, 2017