Friday, November 24, 2006

Trees To Be Removed

Posted on Fri, Nov. 24, 2006
UPDATE Phase 1: Remove 8,000 fallen trees
By RYAN LaFONTAINE
WAVELAND - Workers are removing thousands of fallen trees from Buccaneer State Park in the first phase of a $14 million restoration project.
Buccaneer, one of the most visited among the state's 24 parks, was obliterated by Hurricane Katrina.
Contract workers will spend the next few months removing nearly 8,000 dead or dying trees. Most of the reconstruction should be complete in about two years, but park officials have not yet established a target date for a total reopening.
Named for the pirates who used the area as a retreat in the 1700s, Buccaneer featured acres of campgrounds and outdoor recreation, including a Frisbee golf course and a five-acre water park, Buccaneer Bay.
Preliminary studies on the massive wave pool, built in 1978, show the pool's concrete shell is structurally sound and can be saved.
The park restoration is planned in three phases and rebuilding the campground, bathrooms and pavilions is the state's first objective.
"We are not at a point yet where we can say what the new designs will look like," director Stu Rayburn said. "But the plan right now is to rebuild everything that was here before the storm."
Once the trees are removed, the state will begin rebuilding the park's infrastructure, offices and bathrooms to allow the campground to reopen.
The second phase will be rebuilding a camp store and activity building in the northern part of Buccaneer and bathrooms and showers at the water park.
The third phase will focus on the water park, repairing the wave pool and rebuilding a splash pool, children's pool, slides and pavilions.
Mark Beason, a spokesman for the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, said the park could likely reopen in parts once each phase is completed.
"We hope to have at least the campground area open sometime in 2007," he said. "We are trying to get everything operational as fast as we can, but something of this magnitude takes time."

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