Lovers Key State Park has Reopened after Irma!
The skylights in the main bathroom, shown here, were blown out and will be replaced. Park staff and FOLKS volunteers are still working to repair damage and restore the park.
Many of our friends and members have been wondering how our piece of paradise in Southwest Florida fared through Hurricane Irma. Lovers Key State Park had many trees downed and some buildings that had damage as well. The park was shut down following the storm and reopened on September 27.
The main use area is reopening: that consists of the main parking area, Lovers Key Adventures, and the boardwalk straight out to the beach. Some of the park is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Irma, so there will be no tram service to South Beach or food concessions on the beach for a while. Fortunately, the Gazebo on the beach was not damaged, although there was at least 12” of overwash from the storm surge, resulting in the boardwalk, beach, roadway and trail to the pier becoming covered with sand. The sand will stay there as there is too much to remove.
Areas that will remain closed until they have been cleared and made safe are South Beach, the North Entrance, The Eagle Trail, The Black Island Trail, and The Bayside park. At the South Beach, 3 inches of sand will be removed from under the tram shelter so it meets the ADA guidelines for head clearance. The tram road will have to be leveled and shell added for a road base.
Lovers Key Island had a lot of overwash and subsequently lost a lot of dune and sea oats. The beach profile has moved inland, a term commonly referred to as the “roll over effect”.
The South Beach restroom will be getting a new roof, and each restroom will have the ceiling replaced. The main restroom at the tram stop will be getting new skylights, as two were blown out. Happily, its ceiling is still intact. The concession area and gift shop had its tin roof ripped up, but is reopened for water sports rentals (paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, electric boats). The gift shop is now open with a limited number of items for purchase.
A big thank you goes out to the park staff members and dedicated volunteers who have worked to clean up the beach, the trails, and the butterfly garden. They will continue to do so until all work is completed.
Want to help with the cleanup? If you are not yet a member of FOLKS, you can join the FOLKS today.
FOLKS members can check out our Volunteer
page for more information.