Crews are reportedly continuing their efforts to return Buffalo Bayou Park to its original state, but, throughout the restoration, the park is still open for visitors.
Though the park shows the scars of Hurricane Harvey’s wrath, officials are still promoting its scenic views, picnicking spots and trails for walkers, runners and bicyclists alike.
As Harvey drowned the City of Houston, floodwaters at Buffalo Bayou Park reached 39-feet, reportedly covering the entirety of the 160-acre park.
Once the water drained away, however, the effects of the floods remained.
In total, during the aftermath, authorities estimated some 70,000 cubic yards of sediment remained on the park’s trails, vegetation and infrastructure:
“The silt levels that resulted from Harvey were beyond anything that we have ever seen with any flooding event,” Buffalo Bayou Partnership President Anne Olson said in an interview with the Associated Press after the storm.
Removing the sand is said to be costing the park over $1 million.
During another interview, Olson told KHOU 90 percent of the sand left by Harvey’s floodwaters is removed at this time, but there’s still work to be done:
Damaged trees and vegetation will be replaced, and the dog park will be repaired. The pond in the dog park must also be drained and cleaned.
Though crews removed much of the debris, trash deposited by the rushing floodwaters can reportedly still be seen dangling from tree branches and clumped together in the Bayou’s waters.
Authorities say most of the park’s trails are open, but some of the lower walking paths are still showing signs of Harvey.
Sediment covers portions of the concrete trails, and some areas show worse damage, such as a collapsed portion on the lowest path that is just barely passable.
Despite the damage, the park is still pretty enough to welcome guests.
Additionally, according to Olson, soil tests showed no issues caused by Harvey, meaning it’s safe for families to enjoy the park.
The park is reportedly relying on private donations and volunteers to return the park to its original state.
Though initial estimates suggested repairs would take 4 to 6 months, park officials now expect it to take another year to return the park to its former glory.