Abel Mountain Campground: 'Everything's Gone'
Paul Rae normally calls Abel Mountain Campground along the third branch of the White River near Braintree, Vt., his little piece of paradise. Now, it's anything but. The campground was destroyed by floodwaters, WCAX-TV, South Burlington, reported.
"We're done at this point. Everything's gone," he said. "That pavilion building here — that's the roof over there."
Fortunately, Rae prepared for the storm. He started evacuating the campground before the rains hit; 65 trailers, dozens of picnic tables and hundreds of people were moved to higher ground.
But all that remains now is a sandy beach. Bicycles, an old flag and a toppled camper litter the grounds. The pool — now a supersized puddle. A huge crater in the ground was actually once a road about 300 feet away from the river. Now, it's a fish pond.
Fortunately, few private campgrounds suffered this kind of damage in Vermont. The same holds true for the state park system.
"The spring floods really had a much bigger effect," said Craig Whipple of Vermont state parks.
Only one of the 38 parks, Camp Plymouth, was damaged. Although three others — Gifford Woods, Coolidge, and Silver Lake state parks — are closed.
"You can't get there because the roads are washed out," Whipple explained.
Vermont's new reputation is worse than the actual damage. As word of the devastation spreads, park phones are ringing off the hook.
"We have had a lot of cancellations," Whipple said.
But they are problems that pale in comparison to Paul Rae's. Seven years of hard work is now washed away.
"It's our livelihood. It's everything," he said.
A campground that was much more than just a campground.
Priceless memories and another life suddenly altered by a storm for the record books.
Campers with reservations at state parks that are closed this weekend have the option of rebooking their trip or getting a full refund.
Editor's Note: The campground's website has this message:
Our Campground was destroyed by the flooding on Sunday, Aug 28. We are closed for an undetermined amount of time. New Information will be posted here as we have it. Thanks to all for your support through this nightmare we are currently living.
Karen, Paul, Hannah & Sara
We have had many people asking how they can help….unfortunately, the devastation is beyond man-power. We are asking anyone that is willing to please contact our governor and/or legislators to express your concern for businesses devasted by the hurricane and urge them to provide assistance and/or encourage FEMA to step in. We will not survive without assistance financially.