Hurricane Recovery- Three Rivers State Park

Three Rivers Moving trees

Phil Spyckaboer’s job description changed overnight. Spyckaboer, Park Manager at Three River State Park, rode out Hurricane Michael in the park’s sturdy brick residence. The morning after the storm, he emerged to find a landscape that will take decades of care to regenerate. Many hardwood trees were lost in the storm, significantly thinning the canopy.

Spyckaboer wasn’t fazed. The storm strengthened his resolve to protect the park, a favorite place for family reunions, picnics and other gatherings.

“I started here in May of 2018,” Spyckaboer said. “It was very different then. I didn’t think for a moment about going anywhere else. This is still a beautiful place and I’m excited to be a part of the restoration.”

Three River State Park reopened on April 1, 2019. Staff and volunteers spent the weeks before the reopening ceremony beautifying the picnic area facing Lake Seminole. There are plans for replacement of two damaged pavilions and the addition of a large Texas-style barbecue grill.

Amenities within the park currently include a playground, two boat ramps, a pier for fishing and viewing wildlife, a dock, a rentable indoor/outdoor pavilion with air conditioning and another rentable outdoor pavilion. The rebuilt campground is expected to open soon. The park’s trails are currently inaccessible, but the park road offers opportunities for wildlife-viewing and watching the forest recover.

Park staff and biologists are looking for ways to encourage natural regeneration of the forest canopy. Pioneer species, the first plants to appear in area after it has been cleared, are already growing.

You can help Three Rivers State Park regrow. Volunteering or visiting helps support the recovery process. For the most current information on available amenities and conditions, visit Three River State Park or call 850-482-9006.