Cape Lookout National Seashore Two Weeks After Hurricane Irene

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Date: September 10, 2011
Contact: Wouter Ketel, 252-728-2250 ext. 3005

Harkers Island, NC - Two weeks have passed since Hurricane Irene made landfall on Cape Lookout National Seashore on August 27. Seashore staff, with help from many others, has been busy trying to repair the damage, much like many other area landowners.

Shackleford Banks is open for use by the public. The dock and bathrooms have been repaired. The horses fared well and a new colt was added to the herd.

On South Core Banks, visitor services in the Lighthouse area have been restored. The docks, water systems, bathrooms, roads, boardwalks, and bridges required repair and sand removal. After debris cleanup, the beaches have been reopened for foot traffic and day use only. In Cape Lookout Village, hazard trees have been removed and the road repaired. Additional work is needed before the area can be reopened. At Great Island, Seashore staff is working on making repairs to cabins and infrastructure. While a great amount of progress has been made, work still continues.

On North Core Banks, the Long Point Cabin Camp suffered the most extensive damage. Emergency roof repairs are underway and a large amount of debris has been cleaned up. With the high seas due to Hurricane Katia passing offshore, North Core Banks was overwashed during high tides on September 8 and 9. The infrastructure, in particular the septic systems, that supports the cabins was heavily impacted. Coordination with public health officials will be required. The Ferry basin has filled with sand making the landing unusable. The National Park Service is looking at options for restoring the landing, but the work requires planning and coordination with regulatory agencies. In Portsmouth Village, hazardous and downed trees have been removed, trails cleared and work is underway on the Haulover dock. While the two developed areas remain closed, the beaches have reopened for day use and foot traffic.

Work was also required at the Visitor Center at Harkers Island.Debris removal, dock and roof repairs, and electrical work have all been accomplished. The Visitor Center is open daily form 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

We recognize that the public is anxious to have the Seashore fully reopened to visitor use. We value their patience and understanding while we work to open the remaining facilities.

The National Park Service staff will continue to post updates about reopening of park areas and activities on the park website at and via Twitter at

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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