Beach erosion is major problem for one local park

File photos of Folly Beach County Park (WCIV)

By Sonya

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCIV) -- Beach erosion is just one of the concerns that comes with tropical systems, even if they don't make landfall.

One area in the Lowcountry that has learned this firsthand is Folly Beach County Park.

"The crushing blow was Hurricane Irene that came within 200 miles of our coast last August," said park manager Eric Stewart. "It kind of corresponded with the high tide, and it just put together a really bad scenario for that and the Folly Island."

The erosion had been occurring slowly over several years, but after Irene, the park had to be closed.

"The main damage to it is all the dunes have been washed out and the beachside has washed completely flat," Stewart said. "The steps and the boardwalksthey are not in a condition that we are comfortable with people using them. There is really nothing to go to, because there are no dunes to walk over. So, we have had to move a lot of our non-permanent structures that are located close to the ocean just because of the fear that since there aren't dunes anymore, there is nothing to slow down or stop the water from coming offshore."

Fortunately other properties like, Isle of Palms County Park, haven't had to battle any erosion issues.

"They are holding up physically very well. Isle of Palms and Beachwalker County Park of Kiawah Island both have plenty of beach," said Stewart. "They are also barrier islands, so they are susceptible to it, but we haven't seen anything like we have seen at Folly."

But just because severe erosion has yet to happen doesn't mean it never will.

"I think it's always something that you have to have in the back on your head when on the coast," Stewart said. "You never know what Mother Nature's going to do. Barrier islands, they move and change throughout time. So, I think it's always a concern that you have when you deal with the beach."

For those of you that miss going to Folly Beach County Park, don't worry, it's a work in progress.

"We have been working with a coastal engineer to put together a stabilization plan for the park as well as some renourishment within the park itself," Stewart said. "We are also looking at construction of a terminal groin that could help with that stabilization."

The plan is to have the park stabilized in about a year and then hopefully soon after, re-open it to the public.