Long Recovery Ahead in Irma's Wake

Hurricane Irma mangled Florida's national and state parks, turning places meant to be enjoyed into disaster zones that could take weeks or longer to reopen.

"The damage assessments I'm seeing are really pretty sobering," South Florida National Parks Trust Director Don Finefrock said. "It's going to take a huge lift not just to reopen but to recover."

The National Park Service has sent some 380 workers from 95 national parks in 35 states to 15 parks in Irma's path in Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and the Caribbean.

At Big Cypress National Preserve in eastern Collier County, crews have been clearing downed trees along Turner River Road, which had water too high to access for more than a week after the storm, Park Service Ranger Brett Everitt said.

Downed trees have made the preserve's Bear Island campgrounds inaccessible, and high water has shut down unpaved stretches of Loop Road, said Everitt, who is helping with Irma cleanup on loan from Gulf Islands National Seashore in Pensacola.

Everitt couldn't provide a timeframe for reopening Big Cypress, but the Park Service reported a big step in that direction Friday with the restoration of power in Ochopee and the water plant coming back online.