The damage sustained by Gulf State Park due to Hurricane Ivan has forced the closure of the park. Officials say the hotel, built in 1974, will not reopen, but a new facility will be built in its place. Other amenities, such as the golf course, cabins and campground, are already under repair. Damages to the park include the following:
- The first floor of the hotel was completely destroyed and “blown through.”
- The convention center sustained shattered windows, water damage, and concrete damage.
- The pool was completely destroyed.
- The pier is in three sections.
- The camp store suffered significant damage.
- The campground was flooded and campers in storage were turned on their sides and tops.
- Of the 21 cabins, one was destroyed, but the rest have only minor damage.
- The golf course is in good condition and will reopen soon.
- The nature center lost its roof.
- The bathhouses are intact with minor damage.
The convention center and hotel will be condemned and the debris removed to make way for a new facility. They are both closed indefinitely.
State Parks Director Mark Easterwood said the golf course and cabins at Gulf State Park will be opened first. They are expected to reopen in October. Portions of the campground are expected to reopen after March 1, 2005. “The campground will reopen in sections as repairs are made,” he said. “As soon as the repair crew finishes a section, we will open it up and the crew will move to the next section.”
The Department of Conservation will post updates on the condition of Gulf State Park on its Web site. People should visit www.outdooralabama.com to learn about the status of park facilities.