Wisconsin Park Still Closed by Floodwaters
This year, Zeke Bideaux and his wife, Cindy, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, decided to spend their summer camping at Pettibone RV Park along the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wis.
“We got a couple boats, so we go fishing and the other boat is just a pleasure boat, so we go up and down the river along the sand bars and have a good time,” Zeke told WEAU-TV, Eau Claire, Wis.
But for a little more than a week, they’ve been set up in the Bikini Yacht Club parking lot due to high floodwaters. But it hasn’t spoiled their fun.
“We’re having a good time and we’re having some nice parties around the campfire every night,” Zeke said.
But even though some of the seasonal campers were able to stay during Oktoberfest, the site’s busiest time of the year when all of its nearly 300 sites are full, the campgrounds were closed due to high floodwaters.
“It’s the last big weekend before the winter and you know, that cash flow helps carry us through the winter and I’m sure he’s going to have to borrow some working capital to get through the winter,” said Bud Pretasky, father of Mark Pretasky, owner of Pettibone RV Park.
Bud Pretasky says they have lost thousands of dollars and have a lot of work to do to clean up the grounds.
“And it’s closed for the rest of the year basically,” Pretasky said. “I don’t think we’ll get it ready because the whole place is full of silt.”
Of the two county-owned campgrounds, Goose Island was the only one affected by the high floodwaters. The county closed half of the campground a little more than a week ago. That meant that hundreds of campers had to move.
“What we tried to do is accommodate them right here,” said La Crosse County Parks Supervisor Mary Kaufmann. “We were able to move them to higher ground. Lots of our sites … we have some really big sites … so we were able to double up.”
Kaufmann says she’s not sure yet if the county has taken a financial hit because of the floodwaters.
“After the campground closes, we’ll take a look at all the numbers, all the money, which, of course is what you’re asking and we’ll take a look at it and evaluate it at that time,” Kaufmann said.
“I haven’t met a mean or grumpy person yet,” Zeke says, “whether it’s downtown or here on the campground. People up here are just wonderful people.”
And that’s one of the reasons why Zeke says despite having to move out of the actual campgrounds for the last couple of months of his stay, he and his wife will come back next year.
Goose Island and Veterans Memorial campgrounds will be open through the end of the month.
Pettibone RV Park, will likely be closed for the rest of the season. Some seasonal campers have been allowed to stay in the parking lots.