PRT: Hunting Island not going divided ‘if we can assistance it’

November 28, 2015 - Picnic Time

Hunting Island has always been a climax valuables for Beaufort County, and a state of South Carolina.

But it has always had a ongoing problem: erosion. The problem persists today, melancholy a destiny of a renouned spot.

The story is as aged as a icon, a Hunting Island Lighthouse.

In 1873, a abounding attention of phosphate mining led to a call for a lighthouse. Just dual years later, when it began flashing a guide 30 miles to sea, 150 feet of shoreline had already been mislaid to erosion. Its 120 feet of section and steel stood usually 450 feet from a breakers.

In 1889, a guide was changed some-more than a mile inland.

And today, that mile of silt is gone, sucked into a sea or changed hither and yon by a surf.

Nevertheless, in 1935 — dual years after a guide was deserted by a sovereign supervision and prolonged after phosphate mining left — a organisation of Beaufort business and domestic leaders saw a good new intensity for Hunting Island: a open beach that would coax a economy.


The bid competence have been buoyed by a area’s long-established captivate to Bay Point for picnicking and camping, according to a new third volume of Beaufort County story created by Lawrence S. Rowland and Stephen R. Wise.

The internal leaders approached a island’s owners — rich Northerners who used it as a sport ground. The locals were told a island would be given to Beaufort County if a vast apportionment were set aside as a inlet preserve, if a beach was always open to a open and if it could be finished within 5 years, according to a book.

The New Deal’s Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps helped make it happen. CCC workers built a park and WPA helped account construction of a causeways and dual new bridges that were indispensable to strech a island during a finish of U.S. 21.

Also, adventurous Beaufort County residents authorized a $300,000 bond referendum during a Great Depression for overpass construction. The book records this was 7.8 percent of a sum taxable resources of a county when it upheld in 1936.

The park non-stop in a grand Fourth of Jul jubilee in 1941. Thousands were on palm that day, and even after Pearl Harbor, thousands of visitors used a park on a Jul Sunday in 1942, a story book says.

The state highway dialect fast took tenure of a bridges, relieving a internal taxation burden. And a park became partial of a state complement now run by a S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

“It was a good jump of faith during one of a lowest moments in Beaufort County’s prolonged history,” Rowland and Wise wrote.

A encampment gone

In serve to parking, picnic, showering and restroom facilities, a strange devise for a park called for scarcely 400 sites for cottages that visitors could franchise from a state, a story book reads.

While it didn’t spin out to be scarcely that many, a cottages highlighted both a recognition of a park and a Achilles heel of erosion.

Phil Gaines, executive of park services for PRT, pronounced there were to be 60 lots owned by a state and leased to a open in an area of a island called Beach Village. But by a time anyone could build after World War II, some-more than 20 of a lots had already eroded and cleared away, Gaines said.

“So from a really commencement this has been a plea to contend a slightest with ongoing beach erosion,” he said.

Management of a cottages and erosion has during slightest twice resulted in lawsuit between franchise holders and PRT. In a 1990s, a PRT Commission preference to eventually proviso out all leases and demarcate serve send of leases was challenged in court, ensuing in some compromises. And in late 2009, a fit was brought opposite PRT by a organisation of franchise holders alleging a department’s decisions per beach renourishment had devalued their leasehold interests. Gaines pronounced that fit was staid this year.


Today, all a cabins that were in Beach Village — both secretly owned and state-owned — have been removed, broken or finished obsolete by erosion. One private franchise stays in place for a lodge that was changed adult a island and stays on a let market. And a state has one lodge circuitously a guide left for rent, in serve to roughly 200 camping sites.

Meanwhile, erosion gouges a beach during a rate of 15 to 30 feet per year.

“We have mislaid … over a final 30 years, substantially 40 buildings given of ongoing beach erosion, as good as countless roads, infrastructure, H2O lines, electrical lines,” Gaines said. “It’s a outcome of a separator island that has suffered from ongoing erosion documented for over 100 years. It is constantly eroding and changeable like separator islands do.”

He pronounced PRT’s truth has been to retreat.

And there have been many attempts to stop a bleeding.

More income indispensable for beach renourishment

Since 1969, 8 vital beach renourishment projects have taken place on Hunting Island, totaling some $15 million.

Two were saved wholly by a state, and a others enclosed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers money.

PRT believes that a many new devise finished in 2007 is operative — not to hindrance erosion yet to relieve a repairs in a many widely used portions of a 4-mile beach. Six groins were installed, yet a strange devise called for nine. News stories during a time pronounced a miss of income was a reason 3 were left out.

And that devise called for pumping some-more silt onto a beach within a decade, that is now.

PRT is now doing rough work to find a assent for a beach renourishment devise during Hunting Island that competence be finished in and with a devise due for circuitously Edisto Island.

At a same time, PRT is operative on funding, with a primary source being a state legislature, Gaines said.

That has a Friends of Hunting Island nonprofit classification propelling a membership of some 900 to convene open and legislative support for a state park.

“In January, we wish to do a minute debate to get in a 2016-2017 state budget,” pronounced boss Denise Parsick. “But with all a repairs finished in a state by a (flooding) that only happened, we’re a small reduction assured now than we were dual months ago.”

They disagree that a $10.6 million a park has perceived in sovereign and state renourishment supports given 1985 is teenager compared to what is being spent adult and down a coast. They disagree a park has warranted a income given it is a initial or second many visited park in a state annually, and that income supports parks statewide.

Gaines pronounced he is assured Hunting Island State Park is not going to be broken by erosion.

“Not if we can assistance it,” he said.

He pronounced there are no skeleton in a foreseeable destiny to pierce a guide from harm’s approach again.

“The future, we think, is bright,” he said. “It is formidable given of a healthy sourroundings of a separator island, yet it is the vigilant and wish that Hunting Island will be a great, smashing vacation mark and a place people can go and revisit for generations to come.”

Follow columnist and comparison editor David Lauderdale during

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