Update 5-10-11: Lake Guntersville is the only Alabama State Park still closed due to storm damage. All other parks are open.
Six state parks in north Alabama are temporarily closed due to storm damage or power outages. Buck’s Pocket, Cathedral Caverns, DeSoto, Lake Guntersville, Monte Sano and Rickwood Caverns state parks are all closed until further notice. The power is out at all of these parks and water is out at most of them, according to Alabama State Parks Director Mark Easterwood.
“We really don’t know when the power and water will be restored at these parks,” Easterwood said. “We encourage everyone to monitor our website, www.alapark.com, for the status of these parks. We will be issuing deposit refunds for all of our parks due to cancellations that guests have to make,” he said. “We apologize to guests who had events such as reunions and weddings scheduled at these parks, but with such damage to the infrastructures, we cannot open the parks.”
Most heavily damaged was Lake Guntersville State Park in Marshall County. Every power line in the 6,000-acre park was knocked down and every building in the park has some type of damage, from minor shingle loss to complete destruction. A portion of the roof of the hotel was blown off and several rooms flooded as a result. The park campground sustained heavy damage as well. “Luckily, none of the guests staying at the park during the storm were hurt,” Easterwood said.
Nearby Buck’s Pocket State Park was also heavily damaged with substantial tree loss. Although there was no storm damage, DeSoto State Park in DeKalb County is without power and water. Power is also out at Cathedral Caverns (Jackson County), Monte Sano (Madison County) and Rickwood (Blount County) state parks.
Easterwood says that in several days he will have a better idea of how the clean-up and power restoration is progressing and will be posting updates on www.alapark.com.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.