Volunteers Clean Up Flooded Iowa Campground
The pressure from floodwater from the swollen Turkey River burst through an earthen levee causing $1,237,500 in damages in Clermont, Iowa, last week, estimates the emergency operations center.
Skip-A-Way Resort & RV campground, along Highway 18, sustained significant damage which co-owner Steve Baker initially estimated at $500,000, according to the Elgin Echo, Fayette, Iowa.
“The list just keeps going on and on,” said Baker. “All of the sewer, cable TV, electric and telephone lines will need to be check and replaced.”
Baker said he hasn’t been able to get started on repairing the campground because they are still and will be in the cleaning phase for some time.
“We lost 30 seasonal sites and 20 tent sites. Every site in the campground has some damage from minor to total loss.”
“The dirt and ground is just totally gone from some of the sites,” he said.
Baker said there were nearly 90 recreational vehicles at Skip-A-Way at the time of the flooding. They were able to move all but 12.
“The 12 left were all damaged. Some had minor damage others were totaled.”
Cleanup of the popular resort began in earnest, with local youth and community groups volunteering to begin removing debris.
“Once I got down here I just started to cry,” said Mary Olson, who’s never camped there before but is a regular visitor. “I wasn’t prepared for this.”
Skip-A-Way and the homes surrounding it suffered the most from the high waters. Brown sand, glass, branches and trash now cover the once green and active resort.
“They started calling for volunteers. I knew I had to help,” said Olson. She said she was heartbroken after seeing the destruction.
Community members and came to clean up.
“I can’t even tell what it used to look like or where things use to be,” said Jess Hanson, 21. She pointed over toward the receding river. Her face and clothing were covered in mud. She was nearly out of breath from picking up large chucks of asphalt. The water cut apart and moved the Skip-A-Way campsites at least 15 feet from where they once lay.
Hanson and Kami Knobloch, also 21, will be camp counselors at Beulahland this summer. They were supposed to spend last week preparing the camp for kids.
“We’re fine out there,” said Hanson. “The lake is a little high but we’re going to go where we’re needed.”
Knobloch said so far they had helped clean up in Eldorado, Iowa, and helped to sandbag in Elgin.
“This is so awful but look what good it’s done for us,” said Kami Knobloch. “It’s good to see the community come together like this.”
“When we were sandbagging in Elgin it seemed like there were more people that came to help than there were things to do,” she said. “Kids from age 10 all the way to older people were helping.”