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Galveston beaches spared oil disaster

Galveston beaches still pristine
Galveston beaches still pristineCarol Stigger

Five years ago, Galveston was devastated by a hurricane -- but the residents rebuilt and reclaimed a glorious vacation destination. This barrier island has Gulf beaches that beckon to the young and old alike.Great for swimming, sunning, fishing, boating and just contemplating a sunset over the undulating waves.

On March 22, 2014, 150,000 gallons of oil polluted the bay after an oil barge collided with a bulk carrier in the Houston Ship Canal. Despite an aggressive recovery effort, officials fear long-term damage to the ecology and wildlife in the bay and its estuaries. The extent of the damage is not yet known, and migrating birds are a particular concern.

Oil washed up on tourist beaches on the eastern side of the island two days after the collision, but the oil is in the form of tar balls, easy to clean up. After cleaning up from the hurricane, Galveston has shown its grit and determination to thrive.

Tourism officials are working hard to ease fears of visitors and people planning vacations. They report that seawall and west Galveston beaches are unmarred by oil. The beaches are open and safe.

More than a beach resort, Galveston has so much to offer: great seafood, Moody Gardens, the Pleasure Pier, Victorian shopping streets and architecture, and the historic Queen of the Gulf: Hotel Galvez.

If you are thinking about going to Galveston, don't worry. Pack up and go!