PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

June 18, 2014

Sea Rim to re-open Friday with fanfare

SABINE PASS — Nearly a decade after Hurricane Rita slammed ashore and destroyed Sea Rim State Park, the facility is finally back in full capacity and ready for summer tourists.

To celebrate, a grand re-opening ceremony is planned from 10 a.m. until noon Friday at Sea Rim, 19335 S. Texas 87, Sabine Pass.

Entry fees will be waived during the ceremony until noon.

The event will feature guest speakers Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick and Carter Smith, executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, as well as other officials coming out to enjoy a day along the Gulf Coast.

Though the park re-opened with limited services in 2009, this is the first time it has been fully functional since the storm, Justin Rhodes, TPWD state parks regional director, said.

Now, going on 10 years and close to $4.5 million later, the park is ready to unveil a new look.

“It has a different look, but this is what people will remember Sea Rim as before Rita hit in 2005,” Rhodes said.

From a master planning process, it was decided to rebuild facilities to better withstand future storms.

The dune crossover is higher and stronger and the camping loop is further back away from the ocean, Rhodes said.

Sea Rim features two new restrooms as well as kayaking areas, and a cabin in the marsh that will accommodate up to six people. The cabin can be rented for $95 per night, Rhodes said.

At Friday’s event, guests will have the opportunity to participate in interpretative tours provided by park rangers: One on the Gambusi Boardwalk, one along the beach as well as well as a kayak tour in the marsh for those who want more adventure.

Though Sea Rim is ready to open with all the amenities, there is still more work to be done, Rhodes said.

Using funding available from the BP oil spill, the state park is slated to have a permanent headquarters building to replace the temporary facility used now, as well as a fish cleaning station.

Jefferson County Precinct 3 Commissioner Michael “Shane” Sinegal plans to attend the ceremony, and, at the same time look forward to future re-development along the Texas 87 beach highway.

The re-opening of Sea Rim is a step toward getting Texas 87 opened once again.

The section of the highway from just past Sea Rim to High Island was closed about 30 years ago from storm damage.

“We are closer now than we have been for a long time in getting 87 open,” Sinegal said.

In the meantime, it is a blessing for Sea Rim to re-open.

“The beach is not being used there anymore. Now that Sea Rim is open tourists will come back. It is just an awesome place,” Sinegal said.

E-mail: skoonce@panews.com

Twitter: skooncePANews

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