A picnic table floats in a flooded state park.

Nine of Iowa’s state parks and recreation areas are either closed or partially closed by flooding and several more may soon follow as the snow melts and the rivers rise.

Alex Murphy, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, urges people to please heed the warning signs and barricades for their own safety if parks are shut down. “In some of those areas, there is water completely over the entrance roads and exit roads to get in and out of our parks,” Murphy says. “At that point, the gates are closed so that no visitors can make it into those parks.”

The extent of damage won’t be known until the water recedes, so it’s unclear how long the parks may remain closed. Some could be barricaded for several days, while others may be closed for weeks if extensive repairs are needed. “The forecast changes so quickly, so some of these rising waters can come up several feet within a couple of hours,” Murphy says. “It can catch people off guard. That’s why we do some of these full closures or partial closures, just to really be safe.”

In some state parks, picnic tables can be seen floating away while restrooms and other park facilities will certainly need a lot of work before they’re again safe for use. “I’ve received some pictures from several of our parks that are closed or partially closed,” Murphy says. “Some have a great deal of water. Some look like just a giant river or a giant lake. You can’t quite tell where the park actually is.”

The following parks are either closed or partially closed:
· Walnut Woods State Park, West Des Moines
· Dolliver Memorial State Park, Lehigh
· Wilson Island State Recreational Area, Missouri Valley
· Springbrook State Park, Guthrie Center
· Wapsipinicon State Park, Anamosa
· Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park, Indianola
· Brushy Creek State Recreational Area, Lehigh
· George Wyth State Park, Waterloo
· Ledges State Park, Madrid

For the latest list of closures and any updates affecting state parks and recreational areas, visit: https://www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Alerts-and-Closures