Two hurricanes within a year have put the future of Navarre Beach State Park in Florida’s Panhandle in limbo, according to a report in the Pensacola News Journal.
State park officials are considering eliminating the year-old campground and no decision has been made on whether to repair or replace a storm-damaged fishing pier in the wake of Hurricane Ivan last September and Hurricane Dennis on July 10.
“We’re evaluating all our options for that park,” said state parks spokesman Matt Mitchell. “We’ve got to take a close look at what’s best on a barrier island.”
That’s not what officials in Santa Rosa County, which donated 130 acres for the park, want to hear.
“If they’re going to scale it back to the point where it doesn’t even resemble a park anymore, then just give it back to us,” said Gordon Goodin, county board chairman.
The park and the county’s public beach access areas on Santa Rosa Island remain closed.
The state spent about $5.5 million to develop the park before the hurricanes caused damage estimated at $6 million, Mitchell said.
He said officials are not looking at putting the campground back because of its cost and repairs.
Replacing the fishing pier, which juts into the Gulf of Mexico, would be the county’s responsibility. A post-Dennis damage report has not yet been completed, Goodin said. He said if a new pier is built, the old one could be used to create a marine sanctuary.