By Mindy Lucas
Hunting Island State Park has a new beach and dunes system, and park officials couldn’t be happier.
“It was like a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders when I saw those dunes for the first time,” Park Manager J.W. Weatherford said.
Hit hard in 2016 by Hurricane Matthew, the park’s dunes and beach had sustained significant erosion.
But thanks to a $17 million beach re-nourishment and enhancement project, the island once again has some protection from hurricanes and storms, Weatherford said at a ribbon cutting held Monday, June 22.
The parks staff was joined by Friends of Hunting Island State Park, representatives from S.C. Parks, Recreation and Tourism and state and local legislators to celebrate the opening of the re-nourished beach.
The project, which had been in the works before the hurricane, restored approximately 11,500 linear feet of beach – from the campground groin to a point about 500 feet south of the southernmost groin.
In addition, 9,000 feet of sand fencing was added; 3,000 feet of rope fencing was installed to protect dunes and mark beach entrances; 100,000 plants of dune vegetation was planted; and a number of groins were repaired and capped.
From left to right, State Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston, State Rep. Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort, and State Rep. Michael Rivers, D-Beaufort, were on hand for a ribbon cutting and official opening of the re-nourished beach at Hunting Island State Park. Photo by Mindy Lucas.