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After months of repair and renovations following Hurricane Ivan, the first campsites at the Alabama Gulf State Park have reopened, according to a report in the Mobile Register.
Last week’s opening marks a new start for the park following the hurricane that hit on Sept. 16 and caused about $41 million in damage to the park.
More campsites are still being repaired and will be reopened in stages while the beach pavilion, nature center, campground store and fishing pier still have to be replaced.
“We decided that the entire park was covered in four or five feet of salt water,” said Barnett Lawley, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “You know what that does to electrical systems.”
While the resort, pier and campgrounds have been closed since the hurricane, other facilities, such as the golf course and lake cabins, have reopened as they were repaired, according to park officials.
Campground officials said that 91 of 496 campsites have reopened. Hugh Branyon, park director, said the rest of the campsites alone may take a year to finish.
“We’re going to open about 100 campsites,” Branyon said. “We’ve got another 400 that we’re trying to get ready.
“The storm about tore everything up. After the storm, we had debris cleanup for a long time, moving trees and cleaning out the sites, but we haven’t even come close to cleaning it all out. We’ve got things cleared 50 feet off each site, but the rest is still there.”