A tornado that struck DeSoto State Park on March 18, 2013, caused damage to the hotel, restaurant and several cabins. According to Alabama State Parks Director Greg Lein, the hotel and restaurant were most affected by the storm. “High winds caused some major damage to the roof and walls of the hotel and some of the cabins. We also have quite a few large trees that were blown down. The lodge area starting at Blalock Drive is still closed to traffic while we clear debris,” he said.

Park officials believe most of the cabins will re-open very soon, but the structural damage to the hotel and restaurant likely mean they will be closed for an indefinite time. “We ask for the public’s patience. Crews will be working diligently to clean up debris and get as much of the park open as soon as possible,” Lein said.

“The good news is, we are still welcoming campers and day-use visitors to the park,” Lein said. “The improved campground, country store and nature center, primitive campground, picnic area, and the backcountry camping sites are all open.” Camping reservations may be made by calling 256-845-5380.

The majority of DeSoto’s hiking and mountain biking trails are open as well, but visitors are asked to be cautious around downed trees and debris that may be across the trails.

Storm damage updates will be posted on the park’s website at www.alapark.com/DeSotoResort.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Patrol, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.