Most of the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge remains closed three weeks after Tropical Storm Irma swept across the Lowcountry.
The storm surge paired with high “king tides” topped the levees at the refuge in Jasper County by nearly 2 feet, making roads unstable and breaching dikes, according to a news release posted on the website of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and information posted on the refuge’s Facebook page.
The breaches widen with each high tide, and salt-water intrusion has killed some vegetation, the posts say. Because of the extent of the damage, there is no estimated date for reopening.
Some areas of high water still remain, the posts say.
As of Monday, all trails north of S.C. 170 are closed to all public access, except the Tupelo Trail. Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive and trails are closed.
Other than the Tupelo Trail, which was cleared of brush by volunteers as part of a National Public Lands Day event over the weekend, the parts of the refuge that are open include the Visitor Center and its trails, Kingfisher Pond and trail, and Onslow Island (open only on Wednesdays).
For current closure updates, officials recommend checking the refuge’s Facebook page or its website at www.fws.gov/refuge/Savannah or calling the Visitor Center at (843) 784-2468.
Lisa Wilson: 843-706-8103