Hurricane Irma swept through South Florida’s national parks on Sunday September 10 leaving a trail of damage in her wake – toppled trees, damaged docks, battered buildings and shattered boardwalks. The SFNPT is committed to helping South Florida’s national parks recover and rebuild. You can join us in this effort by contributing to the SFNPT’s Hurricane Relief and Recovery Fund. All funds will support the short and long-term recovery efforts now underway in South Florida’s national parks.
Although damage assessments are underway in each of the parks, we still don’t know where our help – and your support – is needed most. We will be working with our partner parks in coming weeks to identify the most urgent needs moving forward. In the meantime, here’s an early assessment of the damage caused by Irma.
Gulf Coast Visitor Center: The buildings that housed the Gulf Coast visitor center, concession operation, ranger station, NPS docks and maintenance facilities are expected to be condemned as a result of Hurricane Irma and will need to be demolished and replaced.
Flamingo Visitor Center: The buildings that housed the Flamingo visitor center, concession operation, ranger station, NPS docks, employee housing and maintenance facilities suffered major damage. Most are structurally sound and many are Mission 66 Historic Structures.
West Lake Boardwalk Trail: About 300 feet of the boardwalk was destroyed and will need to be rebuilt. This boardwalk is the only trail through mangrove forest in the park.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Fort Jefferson Counterscarp (Moat Wall): Hurricane Irma severely damaged or destroyed an 80-foot section of the moat wall that protects Fort Jefferson from surrounding seas.
Biscayne National Park
Biscayne Bay Boardwalk: Large sections of the main park boardwalk along Biscayne Bay were ripped apart by the storm and will need to be replaced.
Elliott Key Boardwalk: The ocean-side boardwalk on the park’s longest island was shredded by the storm, with debris scattered around the island.
Dante Fascell Visitor Center: The Discovery Center where students learn about the park’s marine ecosystem was damaged by water and will need to be restored.
Big Cypress National Preserve
Damaged Structures: Roofs were damaged at preserve headquarters, a maintenance building and a ranger station, and will need to be repaired or replaced. A number of buildings / facilities including the preserve’s Water Resources Lab have water damage and will require cleanup and restoration.
Public Water System: The stand-by generator for the preserve’s public water system failed during the storm. NPS has a replacement but will require installation services.
Campsites and Trails: Not all damage to backcountry campsites and trails is known but two canoe trails were heavily affected by fallen trees will require major cleanup. There are many fallen and damaged trees, and the preserve estimates cleanup will require three weeks of work by a bucket crew.