SPANISH FORT, Ala. (WKRG) — Historic Blakeley State Park is filled with large trees. They provide a shaded canvas, but when a strong storm tears through like Hurricane Sally did in September 2020, the trees topple fast.
“Sally of course just tore down everything, trees by the thousands,” said park director Mike Bunn.
Bunn said the category 2 storm devastated the park, but a month later in October 2020, Hurricane Zeta’s storm surge and high winds added to the mess.
“There’s not a part of this park that wasn’t devastated in some way,” said Bunn. “We really got hammered. With 2,000 acres and forested on most of it was a lot of time just to make our way to get down to some of the facilities.”
Two years later it’s a much different scene. This week the E.O. Wilson Boardwalk reopened after a long rebuilding project. Nearly a quarter mile of the walkway and pier was ripped away along the Tensaw River during both storms costing $100,000 with this repair alone.
“It’s just made a really nice, sturdy boardwalk and we’ve got a larger fishing pier,” said Bunn. “We’ve got two, but now we’ve got a brand new bigger one.”
Blakeley State Park has felt the impact from dozens of tropical systems through the years, but luckily all repairs have been made as of this month. Now, the park can move forward.
A new kayak launch is open, new fencing is up and in November the park will unveil a new heritage trail, stretching from Historic Blakeley State Park in Spanish Fort 1.5 miles north to Cloverleaf Landing in Bay Minette.