Three More National Parks Close as Hurricane Ian Hits Florida

by Jon D. B.
three-more-national-parks-close-hurricane-ian-hits-florida
(photo credit: NPS media release)

In addition to Dry Tortugas National Park west of Key West, Hurricane Ian has shut down at least three more U.S. national park sites.

Beginning today, Tuesday, September 27 at 4:00 PM, Canaveral National Seashore will close the park and beaches within their boundary. The Florida park’s closure comes in preparation for Hurricane Ian as the storm is expected to wreak havoc on Gulf states. As of Tuesday morning, Ian was marked as a Category 3 storm with the potential to strengthen to a Category 4 hurricane of disastrous proportions.

“With the safety of employees and visitors being NPS’ top priority, backcountry camping reservations are also terminated until further notice,” the park states in their Tuesday media release. The park asks that everyone “please observe all closures and do not enter through closed gates.”

Canaveral National Seashore, north of Kennedy Space Central, closing ahead of Hurricane Ian. (Photo credit: BRUCE WEAVER/AFP via Getty Images)

In addition, once Canaveral National Seashore is closed, there will be limited emergency services available. Reopening of the park will not happen until the seashore is assessed by an Incident Command Team after Hurricane Ian’s passing.

Hurricane Ian Closes NPS’s Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve

Jacksonville, Florida’s local Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is also set to close today in anticipation of Ian. The park’s NPS sites include Fort Caroline National Memorial, Kingsley Plantation, Cedar Point, the Theodore Roosevelt Area, and Spanish Pond. All areas will be closed as of 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 27.

“The projected forecast and potential for tornadoes, high winds, flooding, extreme high tides, and downed trees, will likely create hazardous conditions,” the park cites in their media release mid-Tuesday.

JACKSONVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 12: The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Jacksonville, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept 12, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“Potential weather impacts associated with Hurricane Ian are being taken seriously, for the safety of our visitors and employees. Timucuan Preserve will be closed until conditions improve” adds park Superintendent Chris Hughes.

As with other gulf-area national parks, the preserve will remain closed until assessments of damage are complete. Risks to the public will then be assessed, and openings will happen accordingly.

Georgia National Parks Also Closing

Savannah, Georgia’s Fort Pulaski National Monument will also close, but not until tomorrow, Wednesday, September 28. An exact time is not given, which implies the park’s closure will take effect today and prevent opening on Wednesday.

Aerial view of Fort Pulaski National Monument, a civil war landmark in Savannah, Georgia, USA. (Photo by: Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images)

The Savannah park is currently finishing preparations for Hurricane Ian. Such widespread closures are a powerful reminder of how hurricane’s impact America’s Gulf region. Fort Pulaski will “remain closed until after the storm has passed… And re-open once damage assessments have been made and the park is deemed safe for visitation,” the park cites.

As Hurricane Ian hits Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park is also closed (more on that closure here).

To monitor the progress of the storm, please visit www.nhc.noaa.gov. Any changes in National Park Service operations are available on the NPS website here for each park. Stay safe out there, Outsiders!

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