National historic site in Puerto Rico reopens after hurricane

By next week, two important areas of a national historic site in San Juan, Puerto Rico, damaged by Hurricane Maria will be open to visitors and back to normal operations.

Public tours resumed Tuesday at the Castillo San Cristóbal area of San Juan National Historic Site, and officials expect Castillo San Felipe del Morro to reopen as early as next week, the National Park Service announced Tuesday.

San Juan National Historic Site is composed of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristóbal, Fort San Juan de La Cruz, La Puerta de San Juan and parts of the city wall, according to NPS.

In September, Hurricane Maria caused major damage to the historic defensive walls inside San Juan National Historic Site, causing it to be closed to public use.

“For over 400 years, Castillo San Felipe del Morro has stood as guardian and symbol of Puerto Rico’s heritage, and it’s also a major tourism attraction for visitors from all over the world,” Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke said. “I’m incredibly proud of the National Park Service and entire Interior family, who have been working nonstop to reopen this important cultural and tourism attraction. Part of rebuilding communities means rebuilding revenue streams so folks can get back to work, earn a living and care for their families. The National Park Service will continue to work closely with the people of Puerto Rico to restore life into this vibrant community.”

More than 1.4 million people visited NPS sites in Puerto Rico in 2016, creating $85 million in revenue, according to data provided by the Interior Department.

There will be a public community reopening event at the park on Dec. 2.