Tornado damages camping area

Flanners Beach in Craven County’s Croatan National Forest in North Carolina along the Atlantic Ocean Coast sustained major damage due to Saturday’s (April 16) deadly storms and may not open as scheduled on May 1, the Sun Journal reported.

James Cherry, a fire management officer with the U.S. Forest Service, said Thursday Flanners Beach was damaged as badly as Falcon Bridge.

“We had extensive damage there,” Cherry said. “…It is unsafe to let people in.”

Cherry estimated 30 areas of the Flanners Beach area received some kind of damage.

James Trull, a firefighter and reserves law enforcement officer for the Croatan Forest, said it was good that the campground was closed when the tornado struck. Otherwise it would have been one of the busiest times of the season for campers.

“Usually at this time it is full,” he said. “It’s a miracle.”

Flanners Beach usually opens around March 1, but it was closed because work was being done on the sewer system and construction of new bathhouses. It was nearly ready to open, Cherry said. But now the campground will have to be assessed and cleared. He didn’t know if a contractor would have to do the work or how long it would take.

The Flanners Beach camp area has about 45 campsites. Since the storm it has been covered with fallen trees and limbs. Some clearing had to be done just to let the rangers in, Trull said.