Ike's effect on Galveston's tourism

September 28, 2008 6:04:38 AM PDT
As Galveston tries to recover from Ike, many businesses are starting back up. The problem is many of those places rely heavily on tourism. ROAD TO RECOVERY: How you can help | School closings | Person locator | Important phone numbers | Assistance from FEMA | Filing a claim | Latest power numbers

She survived the World War II, earning her the name 'The Lucky Lady' and after Hurricane Ike, it's easy to see why the name for the USS Cavalla is so appropriate.

"It rotated enough that these stairs used to be on the ground here," said Seawolf Park Curator John McMichael, showing us the vessel.

Ike's power was so strong at Sea Wolf Park that it uprooted the Cavalla, the surge tossing the 1,700 ton Naval submarine like a toy.

Her partner, the USS Stewart, a 1,900 ton World War II destroyer escort fared just as badly.

While the damage to Seawolf Park can be fixed, it's yet another indication of the huge price tag Ike has had on the tourism industry.

"It's not going to be cheap," said Ernie Conner with the Park Board of Galveston.

Every year, some 75,000 tourists visit Seawolf Park. Money is no longer coming in.

"It's all done with donations," said Conner.

Moody Gardens sees about 2 million visitors every year. Today, the park remains closed.

Around 6.5 million people visit Galveston beaches each year. After Ike, there's very little beach left to see.

"There's no sand, where you used to be able to walk down," noticed tourist Thomas Lee.

Officials are working with the federal government to assist with the cost, but a lot of work needs to be done. Sections of Seawolf Park, for example, could take months to reopen. The park's curator remains confident things will eventually be restored and isn't counting on luck this time to weather the storm.

Officials say it'll likely take a million cubic yards to replenish the sand on the beaches. The city of Galveston does have a fund, but that will only cover a portion of what's needed.

As for Seawolf Park, they rely solely on donations. While some have come in, they certainly could use a lot more.

Keep your family safe this hurricane season. Check our complete tropical weather preparation guide


Load Comments