The term “happy campers” will not apply this holiday weekend as dozens of would-be Iowa campers are being told to look elsewhere for lodging. About a dozen Iowa state parks are closed due to storm damage and flooding. Mick Klemesrud with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says some parks took a real beating during June.
“We’ve had some parks that have been closed for a week or two,” Klemesrud says. “Like Doliver State Park up in Webster County, that’s been impacted by the Des Moines River since last week. A lot of these parks are located along our rivers and that’s part of the package. You have the beauty of the river but you also have some of the downside when we have these high water events.”
About a hundred campsites statewide that would ordinarily be populated with tent dwellers are either underwater or inaccessible due to downed trees. Klemesrud says some folks will be getting phone calls or emails today. “We are contacting the campers with reservations to let them know that their park is closed,” Klemesrud says. “That’s primarily George Wyth State Park and Doliver if they had reservations. We’re working to get the downed trees up and cleared off.”
The campground at Wapsipinicon State Park, in Jones County, reopened this morning but many of the others will remain closed through the holiday. “Fourth of July is our busiest time of the season and we’re hoping if we can get a lot of the stuff cleared up that we can get some of these reopened,” Klemesrud says. “It’s never good to have to give bad news to somebody who’s been looking forward to this.”
For the latest information on state park closures, go to www.iowadnr.gov/parks and click on the Closure Information link in the column on the left.
Here is a list of some of the closings:
· The campground at Dolliver State Park, in Webster County continues to be closed due to flooding. Other park facilities remain open.
· George Wyth State Park, in Black Hawk County, will be closed likely through the weekend due to flooding.
· Lake Macbride State Park, in Johnson County, is in the process of restoring its electricity. The Coralville Reservoir is high and within inches of back flowing into Lake Macbride. If it does, it could impact the Lake Macbride beach, concession and some trails.
· Most of the campsites at Fairport State Recreation Area, in Muscatine County, are flooded from the Mississippi River. The campsites not flooded are currently filled with campers. Fairport will be removed from the reservation system until floodwater recedes and all campsites are available. Trails at nearby Wildcat Den will likely have some damage.
· The lakefront campsites at Rock Creek State Park, in Jasper County, are not available due to high water. Campers were moved to other sites until the water recedes.
· The lower road leading to the beach and boat ramp at Palisades-Kepler State Park, in Linn County, is closed due to flooding. The rest of the park is open.
· In Ledges State Park, in Boone County, Lower Ledges Road and Canyon Drive are closed to vehicle traffic due to flooding, but the park and campground remain open.
· Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, in Dubuque County, has three trails closed due to flooding – Calcite Trail, Mesquakie Trail and Cattesse Trail.
· The lower road at Backbone State Park, in Delaware County, REOPENED today. It was closed due to flash flooding. The campground is unaffected and is open.
· Maquoketa Caves State Park, in Jackson County, is clearing trees from roads downed by the wind.
· Wildcat Trail, at Pine Lake State Park, in Hardin County, is closed due to flooding.
· Neal Smith Bike Trail, in Polk County, remains closed. The outflow from Saylorville Lake is expected to increase from 17,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) to 21,000 CFS later this week.
Campers with reservations in Iowa state park campgrounds closed due to flooding or storm damage will be contacted by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.