Hurricane Recovery- Torreya State Park

A view of the river at Torreya from atop a hill

Torreya State Park is crisscrossed by steep, forested ravines. Water seeping into the Apalachicola River carved these ravines over millions of years of years, creating an ideal habitat for the Florida torreya tree. The torreya, one of the rarest conifers in the world, still clings to these slopes despite a fungal epidemic and historic timber harvesting. After Hurricane Michael damaged the forest canopy, researchers from the Atlanta Botanical Gardens began a search for surviving torreya trees. They were happy to learn that many of the resilient trees had weathered the storm, including several near the historic Gregory House.

Read the Tampa Bay Times article about what Hurricane Michael did to the Torreya Tree

The hardy torreya tree stands as a symbol of the resilience of the Apalachicola Basin’s ecosystems. Deer, foxes, bears and other wildlife remain in the area. Pioneer species are taking advantage of the thin canopy to fight for valuable ground bathed in sunlight.

Many of the park’s amenities have reopened. The campground began accepting reservations on March 1, 2019. Two new yurts - round canvas shelters with climate control and queen-sized beds - are under construction. Three miles of trails are open, and park staff continue to make progress clearing paths. Currently, visitors can hike to Stone Bridge, Rock Bluff and a part of Weeping Ridge trail.

Fire is a major concern for the area. One of the park staff’s primary objectives is keeping over 100 miles of roads and fire lines clear of debris. Fire lines ensure that any potential wildfires can be contained.

“I’m excited for people to come and see Torreya State Park regrow with us,” Park Manager Jason Vickery said.

For the most current information on available amenities and conditions, visit Torreya State Park or call 850-643-2674.