Hurricane Michael blocked access to Florida Caverns State Park. Trees littered the roads and access paths. Florida State Park staff were forced to climb over fallen trees and debris to get in and out of the parks while assessing the damage. Strike teams from around the state used chainsaws, tractors and bulldozers to clear roads and debris. The first priority was to ensure the safety of resident staff.

With Hurricane Michael coming ashore in nearby Mexico Beach, T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park felt its full force. The park, located on Cape San Blas between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Joseph Bay, experienced massive winds and waves. Roads, campgrounds and buildings were demolished, and sand buried entire portions of the park. The storm surge was so powerful, it created two inlets, cutting through the park and connecting the bay and the gulf. With one inlet more than 20-feet deep, portions of the park are now only accessible by boat.

On the banks of Lake Seminole, Three Rivers State Park and its lush forest of pine and hardwood trees was an ideal place to camp, hike or picnic. On October 10, 2018 the park changed forever. Located in the small town of Sneads, Three Rivers State Park and the surrounding community was hit hard by Hurricane Michael. Trees fell or snapped in half. Facilities were damaged, and campsites buried in debris. The road was impassable. Immediately after the storm passed, state park teams from across the state came to help. For days, they sawed trees and moved debris. Staff and volunteers cleared roads and assessed damage. The Florida Park Service, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, continues to work to get the park back where it can once again be a place to come relax and escape.

About the Author: Foundation Staff