Memorial Day Weekend Campground Update
The nation’s media have posted numerous stories updating their readers on the status of campgrounds — mostly public ones — for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Flooding, heavy snowfall, storms and other severe weather conditions have forced delays in openings or even closures.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
Here are highlights from some of those reports:
Boating will not be allowed on Canton Lake through the Memorial Day weekend because the lake is full of debris from Tuesday’s tornado, the Oklahoma City Oklahoman reported
“We are telling people to stay off the water,” said Tim Coffey, park ranger at Canton Lake. “We have closed off the boat ramps.”
Two campgrounds – Canadian and Longdale – will be closed through the Memorial Day weekend.
The lake and dam were not damaged, but the tornado flung tree stumps, mobile home debris and boat parts into the water, said Ross Adkins, spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Tulsa.
The Big Bend and Sandy Cove campgrounds will be open, but the swim beach area at Sandy Cove will be closed because of debris washing up on the shoreline.
The Canadian campground, one of the busiest on the lake 90 minutes northwest of Oklahoma City, received major damage from the tornado.
Tommy Adams, 60, said there were about 60 mobile homes and travel trailers in the Canadian campground, and all seem to be demolished. Owners were piling up what they could salvage Wednesday, and loading it on trailers.
The homes are rental and vacation homes. Access to the area has been limited to homeowners.
Adams, who lives on the other side of the lake, lost four rental cabins in the twister.
“It looks like Joplin here,” Adams said. “It was a pretty mean tornado.”
Adams said he watched the tornado hit the lake’s surface and spiral into a waterspout. He said its path was about a quarter-mile wide.
At least two homes near Longdale boat dock were leveled.
“There is just nothing left,” Canton fisherman Donnie Jinkens said of the Canadian campground. “Debris is scattered everywhere.”
The few people camping on Tuesday took shelter inside a bathroom on the Canadian campground.
“They bunkered down in a bathroom made out of (concrete) blocks,” Jinkens said. “Some of them said the roof was going up and down like it was going to pull the roof off.”
All were unharmed.
“Thank goodness this didn’t happen in the middle of Memorial Day weekend,” Coffey said. “We would have been full down there.”
Campgrounds in the Poconos are gearing up for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but at one campsite, workers are cramming in as much prep work as they can this week after losing several days to the rainy weather, WNEP-TV, Wilkes-Barre, reported.
It’s a race against the clock at Delaware Water Gap-Pocono Mountain KOA Campground near Marshalls Creek.
Workers are trying to get everything ready in time for visitors this Memorial Day holiday weekend, prep work that usually takes weeks to get done.
“We have a crew in here and it’s weeks and we lost about nine days of those weeks. The rain really slowed everything down,” said KOA Manager Sheri Michael. “We’re moving full-steam ahead. There’s a lot of overtime going on.”
The crews are filling in gravel where needed. They’re also pulling weeds and doing some construction work on their cabins.
The owners of KOA said after a very wet spring, they were concerned that this trend would continue into the summer and the cabins would get water damage. So as a precaution, they decided to get their crews to raise up the cabins just a little bit to prevent any future issues.
If Mother Nature decides to rain on vacationers’ parades this holiday weekend, Michael said the campground is prepared.
“We have a pavilion, lots of activities and things we can do in the pavilion,” Michael added.
The possibility of rain in the forecast this weekend isn’t stopping people from camping.
KOA campgound has 200 camping spots, but only 11 are still available for this Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park near Medora has closed campgrounds in both the North Unit and South Unit due to record flooding on the Little Missouri River in western North Dakota, the Associated Press reported.
Superintendent Valerie Naylor says the park and its scenic drives remain open to visitors.
Separately, state officials have postponed the 40th anniversary celebration scheduled for Saturday at Little Missouri State Park because of the flooding. A new date was not immediately set.
Lewis and Clark National Forest officials on Wednesday closed forest trails, roads and campgrounds for the Memorial Day weekend because of high water, lingering snow and washed-out roads, the Great Falls Tribune reported.
As of Wednesday, the Natural Resource Conservation Service Water and Climate Center reported that the snow-water equivalent — the amount of liquid water still held in the snowpack — in the Smith, Judith and Musselshell river basins is 287% of the 30-year average.
Many roads that access the forest have been damaged and are impassable. Other roads still are buried by snow.
Snotel sites in area mountain ranges show widespread lingering snow, with 48 inches at Crystal Lake in the Big Snowies, which sits at an elevation of 6,050 feet.
For the first time since 2005, the Beartooth Highway, a major entrance to Yellowstone National Park, between Cooke City and Red Lodge will not open in time for the Memorial Day weekend. Crews are working to open the road on June 3.
Unstable snow conditions and the threat of snow slides continue to limit travel on the East Entrance road in Yellowstone National park through Sylvan Pass to between the hours of 8 p.m. and 10 a.m.
Clearing Dunraven Pass has been pushed back two weeks. The road between Canyon Village and Tower Fall is expected to open June 10, weather permitting.
All other entrances and interior roads in Yellowstone Park are open for the season, including the road that connects the northeast entrance to the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway and Cody, Wyo.
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks has closed three of its campgrounds. Marshall Cove, North Shore, and Fisherman’s Point campgrounds are all closed from flooding.
The race is on to dig out high country campgrounds in time for the Memorial Day Weekend, CBS News, Denver, reported.
“We’re making progress,” said Janet Sharp, a campground host at the Jefferson Lake Recreation Area.
On Wednesday, Sharp was shoveling heavy snow off of a fire pit. “Some of the places are five, six, seven feet deep,” Clint Sharp added.
It’s typical for mid-May sunshine to help thaw out the area in Park County, which is at 10,500 feet elevation. But the past two weeks have delivered only more snow. So the pressure is on. All 64 campsites at Jefferson Lake have been reserved for the holiday. The concessionaire promises everything will be open by Friday.
The Missouri River, which has been running high for weeks, had begun to flood a section of the city-owned campground in South Sioux City, S.D., the Sioux City Journal reported
Scenic Park Campground host Carlene Modlin said officials helped campers at 21 sites of the Peninsula, a particularly low-lying area hugging the river, move to other sections of the park.
“We’ve moved people up all day because it’s over the road,” she said.
The Missouri’s six upstream reservoirs all are close to full with runoff from spring snowmelt and heavy rains, forcing what are expected to be record releases from the Oahe Dam.
Meteorologist Brad Temeyer of the agency’s office in Sioux Falls said the releases, planned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release pressure on reservoirs, are expected to raise the river level in South Sioux City.
Record rainfall on Wednesday – 2.79 inches as of 4 p.m. – won’t help, he said.
The current forecast calls for a level of 26.1 feet by this weekend, which Temeyer said is high but not enough for the river to reach its flood stage of 30 feet.
Some areas are already affected. Farm Island Recreation Area east of Pierre canceled camping reservations for about 20 sites for the next two weekends.
Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill said that officials in both cities were working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers. “Today we are going to be seeing maps that are going to be showing us … what the impact will be,” she said.
The corps on Wednesday was sending more staff from the agency’s office in Omaha to help with the response. Hughes and Stanley County Emergency Manager Rob Fines said that at least 200,000 sandbags would be filled.
Last week’s flooding washed away roads to campgrounds in Kittitas County in central Washington and flooded the sites with water and mud, KVEW-TV, Spokane, reported.
Nancy Jones of the Cle Elum Ranger District saidit’s the worst damage to the campsites in 15 years. She’s trying to warn people around the state they won’t be able to access one-third of the campgrounds in Kittitas County.
“So there’s just going to be a huge amount of people impacted that come here for Memorial Day weekend that if they get here aren’t going to have anywhere to go,” she said.
While many of the forest service roads have been washed out and closed, many county roads have also been closed to protect campers from driving up into the mountains and getting stuck there.”
Jones says up to 4,000 fewer people will travel east over Snoqualmie Pass to camp.
Winter’s grasp on the Tahoe National Forest in east central California remains tight in some popular recreation areas, U.S. Forest Service officials told The Union of Grass Valley.
“Our recreation crews and campground concessionaires have been working hard to get the campgrounds ready for the Memorial Day weekend,” said Forest Supervisor Tom Quinn. “The heavy snow and rain received this past winter and spring has delayed the opening of many campgrounds, roads, picnic areas and trails. Considerable snow can still be found at 6,000 feet and above, especially on north facing slopes or in shaded areas.”
The following Memorial Day status report of area campgrounds, roads and trails is listed by major transportation corridor or area.
- Sierra Buttes area — Sierra County: Open with some snow drifts. Packer Lake Road is not open to the lake or lodge due to snow.
- Jackson Meadows Area — Sierra County: The Jackson Meadows Road is only open 6 miles to the Perazzo Meadows Road intersection. Snowmobiling continues along the road.
- Reservoirs East of Truckee — Nevada County: Most of the sites are open around Boca, Stampede and Prosser reservoirs. The Boca Dam Road has been closed by the Bureau of Reclamation. Boca campground is only accessible from Highway 89 north.
- Interstate 80 — Nevada and Placer counties: The Pacific Crest Trail and other trails along the Sierra Crest are still very snowy. More than eight feet of snow was recorded in mid-May at Donner Summit. Campgrounds including Hampshire Rocks, Indian Springs, North Fork, Tunnel Mills and Onion Valley are all closed due to snow.
- Rattlesnake Road is closed due to snow and a large slide and may not be open for a while. Loch Leven trails are very snowy.
- Big Bend Visitor Center is not expected to open due to snow damage over the winter. A visitor information office is expected to be available later this summer at Big Bend.
- Bowman Lake Road has been plowed to the Fuller Lake dam.