Campground Closure Update

June 16, 2011 by   - () Comments Off on Campground Closure Update

From the nation’s media come these reports of campground closures:


The rising Missouri River threatens so many homes and businesses. And for one couple, they may lose both their home and business, KTIV-TV- Sioux City, Iowa, reported.

Doug Larson has owned Larson’s Landing RV Park in Yankton, S.D., for 30 years.

It’s his home, and his business.

Last week, you could still get to Doug Larson’s house.

He couldn’t live there, but the river was still a few feet from his deck.

Wednesday, there’s a foot of water in the main floor.

In fact, we couldn’t get within a city block of Larson’s home.

But, you can still see the sandbag wall meant to shore up the sandy point Larson’s landing sits on.

It cuts the current, which threatens to eat away at Larson’s investment.

Doug Larson, Larson’s Landing, says “If the water starts moving through there, it’ll take all the sand out and all the campsites out, then I’ll be out completely.”

Larson still plans to rebuild, if he can.


There’s still 4 to 6 feet of snow in the mountains of central Idaho. Here’s an update on high-country conditions from the Idaho Statesman:

  • Upper Payette Lake Campground, snowbound with about 4 feet of snow. The Forest Service hopes to get the area open for the July 4 holiday.
  • Burgdorf and Jeanette campgrounds, inaccessible. They should be open by July 4.
  • Chinook Campground, campground and trailhead are open but access is blocked by the snow on Warren Wagon Road. It should be open by July 4.
  • Almost all popular trails north of McCall (Victor Creek, Twenty-mile, Willow Basket, Bear Pete, and Cougar Creek) are still covered with 4 to 6 feet of snow. Some of these trails may be open by the July 4 holiday but some may remain snow covered until the middle of July.
  • Goose Lake Road, still snowbound just past Brundage Mountain Ski Area. Grouse and Hazard Lake campgrounds inaccessible. About 4 to 6 feet of snow remains in the campgrounds and depending on the weather, could remain snow covered until mid–July.
  • Lick Creek Road, snow covered at the national forest boundary (3 to 4 feet of snow at the start with 8 to 10 feet at the summit). Don’t expect access until way after July 4.
  • Bear Valley and Bull Trout Lake campgrounds, inaccessible.


Lake Manawa State Park in Iowa is closed until August due to safety concerns that the levee holding the Missouri River back will not withstand the pressure over the expected eight weeks of flooding, WOWT-TV, Omaha, Neb., reported. Today’s video features footage courtesy of WOWT.

Usually packed this time of year, the grounds will sit dormant while 150 reservations have been refunded.

“If the levee were to breech, there would be little time to evacuate the campers so we decided to take the cautious approach and close the campground,” said Kevin Szcodronski, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau.

Other parks that are closed to camping include Dodge and Haworth on the Nebraska side and Lewis and Clark, Lake Manawa and Wilson’s Island in Iowa. Pottawattamie County parks that do allow camping include Arrowhead near Neola and Botna Bend near Hancock.

“The domino effect will be that other nearby parks will likely absorb campers who would normally be going to one of the closed parks that will in turn make it more difficult to find a campsite for the rest of this summer and likely into 2012,” Szcodronski said.

Lake Manawa State Park hosts an estimated 1.5 million park visits per year, the highest total in the Iowa state park system. The closure of state parks will have an impact of the Department of Natural Resouorces budget.

Even when money is not tight, every bit counts in state parks, but when budgets are thread bare and three popular and busy state parks are closed for the season that makes a bad situation worse.

“When we lose revenue from three of our more popular and well attended parks, it has an impact on our bottom line in a time when we have no wiggle room left on the balance sheet,” said Szcodronski.

The loss of revenue generated from these campgrounds and shelter rentals will be felt throughout the state park system.

Szcodronski said all staff have been evacuated from the housing within the parks and equipment has been moved to other locations. The impact long-term flooding has on the parks is unknown.

“Our parks are no different than the towns that are experiencing major impacts from the flooding Missouri River. We have similar infrastructure with the wastewater and drinking water systems, we have roads, electrical networks and heavy equipment that we are responsible for in additional to the daily activities to keeping a park running properly.”

Cleanup will take months and determining the impact from extended flood waters has on trees, pumps, electrical sites and buildings may take longer.


Disaster and Emergency Services says the Helena RV and Campgrounds is still without its water and septic system, Beartooth NBC, Helena, reported.

Van’s Thriftway delivered several hundred cases of water to the campgrounds. Services aren’t expected to be back up and running until next week. The Red Cross will be delivering flood kits to affected areas Thursday. They’ll be driving up and down the streets from 10:00am until 3:00pm handing out clean-up kits to residents. 100 kits are available.


The Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday that beginning June 21 there will be a partial closure of Big Bend Campground while construction takes place at Arthur R. Bowman Dam, about 20 miles southeast of Prineville, KTVZ-TV, Bend, reported.

Bowman Dam construction work consists of installing a 6-foot-high concrete parapet wall on top of the dam and raising a portion of the spillway walls by 2 feet for flood control. Construction crews will fence off a section of the campground for a staging area for heavy equipment.

Six of the 15 campsites will be closed to the public. The remaining nine campsites that will remain open include an accessible campsite for people with physical disabilities and restroom facilities.

Construction is scheduled for June 21-November. 1. The roadway across the top of the dam will remain open through Labor Day. Immediately following Labor Day the roadway will be closed to accommodate construction from Sept. 6 – Oct. 1.

The public is advised to exercise caution around the construction zone and comply with posted safety signs.


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