Hunting Island State Park is one of the most popular state parks and beach areas in South Carolina. Located on the edge of Beaufort, South Carolina, Hunting Island beach attracts over a million visitors a year. The erroding island acts as a natural barrier to the Atlantic Ocean, making it a unique island like no other with it’s pristine sandy beach and palmetto foliage. Hunting Island features a campground, which has spaces for RV’s and tent campers, as well as a primitive camp site for established groups. The camping area has very easy access to the beach.
Restoring Hunting Island: Since Hurricane Mathew
(Source: Bluffton Today) Restoring Hunting Island is a work in progress and help from volunteers may soon be needed.
All the water lines in the state park’s campground are being replaced and electrical lines will be upgraded, according to a report from the Friends of Hunting Island organization.
After Hurricane Matthew hit in October, numerous trees had to be removed from the back side of the campground and 88 campsites were lost.
Before the storm, the campground’s west side had been scheduled for maintenance. The four comfort stations are being gutted and remodeled.
The campground store was underwater for a few days after the hurricane and sustained some interior damage. The staff stripped it completely, and it will now have new displays and slat boards as part of its new décor.
Contractors are working all over the island, mainly removing trees where they block roads, trails or campsites. Trees that that do not block access will be left as deadfall.
One group of workers clearing trees near Parking Lot A at North Beach were mired down during January’s heavy rains and their equipment couldn’t be moved. They were relocated to the campground to clear trees on the ocean side.
Equipment brought to Hunting Island includes log trucks, chippers, bucket trucks and Bobcats. Crews are working seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.
The foundation of the bath house at Parking Lot A was undermined when surf went under it and trees fell on the structure, so it will not be salvageable. Temporary restroom facilities will be brought in. When it is rebuilt, the facility could be moved farther from the water.
The lighthouse’s new fence surrounding the compound remains unpainted, which could be a job for volunteers. Friends of Hunting Island purchased 100 gallons for that purpose.
With all the boards up, the treated wood is seasoning for a few months before paint goes on. Expect a request for help in April or May.
Another volunteer job will be to install sand fencing to begin to rebuild the dunes. The fencing will run about the length of accessible beach. Fencing will be installed at South Beach at a later time.
With the cabin at the lighthouse slated for an extensive renovation this year, the hurricane added to the expenses by removing the laundry room from the back. The central maintenance crew is working on the renovation and expects it to be complete by the end of April. The changes include a vaulted ceiling and larger bathroom.
The lighthouse store withstood the hurricane, but needed a new roof and paint job.
Studies on beach loss will reassess the renourishment needs. There is no definite date for renourishment at this time.