POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Three weeks after Hurricane Ian hit, Circle B Bar Reserve still remains closed due to wind damage and flooding.

“Water’s gotta go somewhere,” said Daren, a would-be visitor. “I am bummed it’s closed. I drove about 45 minutes to get here.”

He was not alone.

“Circle B Bar Reserve is closed,” Gaye Sharpe, Polk County Parks & Natural Resources Division director, told another person who wanted to visit the reserve Wednesday.

In the weeks since Hurricane Ian, the 1,267-acre reserve saw flood waters continue to rise.

It reached up to three feet on the Alligator Alley trails as water flowed in from tributaries in the surrounding area, according to Sharpe.

Source: Polk County

High levels at Lake Hancock also impacted the property.

“Because of all the water in there and the trees down, we had to close the site because it wasn’t safe for the public nor would it be a great experience to be out there,” said Sharpe.

The property, a former cattle ranch, was purchased by Polk County and the Southwest Florida Water Management District in 1999, in part, for its water resources.

“The whole intent was to create wetlands out here, to provide storage when it did rain. So the property functioned extremely well for the purposes it was purchased for, which is to allow the water to stay here and slowly drain down the Peace River,” explained Sharpe.

As the flood waters recede, crews are now beginning to make repairs and clear trees that fell from high winds and saturated ground.

Source: Polk County

One trail alone has 20 large trees knocked over.

Circle B Bar Reserve is approaching its peak season with mild weather and bird migration.

The county aims to have the reserve reopened within the next two weeks.