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Irma damage closes Beaufort's Hunting Island for rest of 2017 | PHOTO GALLERY

Hunting Island post-Irma damage 8 (South Carolina State Parks).jpg

Hunting Island State Park will be closed for the rest of 2017 in order for repairs to be made following damage caused by Tropical Storm Irma.

The park had only reopened in June after being closed for months to repair millions of dollars in damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.

Most of the damage from Irma was caused by flooding from the storm surge and heavy rains, according to South Carolina State Parks officials.

State Parks officials say the electrical system and utilities at the park's popular campground were damaged by saltwater, and will need to be replaced. People who have reservations at the campground through the end of 2017 will be contacted and offered full refund.

Daniel Gambrell, the park’s manager, told The Island Packet about a foot of water entered some of the park's facilities.

Gambrell told the newspaper he believed Irma's storm surge was higher than Hurricane Matthew's. The newspaper reports up to three feet of standing water are currently covering parts of the barrier island.

Officials said after Hurricane Matthew the Hunting Island sustained about $5 million in damage to facilities, and strong tides eroded much of the park’s dunes. Estimates for the cost of damage by Irma aren't available yet.

The parks roads were damaged, and thousands of trees were damaged by winds and floodwaters during Matthew.

State Parks officials said in the past Hunting Island is one of South Carolina’s most popular, and one of the parks service's top revenue generators.

The park's Nature Center will reopen Friday, and serve as an information hub for the park while much of it remains closed and state employees work to repair damage, officials say.

Meanwhile, Edisto Beach



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