GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Fishing at Gulf State Park Pier hasn’t been the same since September of 2020.
Hurricane Sally took out 200 feet of the newly renovated pier, making the octagon an island unto itself and destroying it’s new elevation observation deck. The second-longest pier on the Gulf Coast is an abbreviated version of what it once was.
Steve Major, a local fisherman, was disappointed with the state of the pier.
“I hate it,” said Major. “I love the pier but I hate it’s tore up. I guess they are going to get it fixed sooner or later.”
Chris Blankenship, Director of the state Department of Conservation, said the organization is working to improve the pier.
“Nobody wants it open any more than I do I promise you,” said Blankenship. “We have been working on it since the hurricane.”
16 months after the storm, angler George Frederickson is frustrated with the lack of progress on repairing the pier.
“We’re working on it, working on it and nothing was being done,” said Frederickson.
The state is still waiting on the okay from the Corp of Engineers, NOAA fisheries and FEMA according to Blankenship.
“Obviously we have had some damage that has been done in the water and under the water and that takes a whole different permitting process than we had before and that’s almost like starting over from scratch,” said Blankenship.
Once those permits are issued, Blankenship said construction can begin right away which is good news for anglers ready to use the whole pier instead of just part of it.
The hope now is the permits will be issued in time to start work in April. Blankenship said once the work begins it shouldn’t take long to repair it. The pier will remain open as much as possible during construction.