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State Inspects Park Damage from Missouri River Flood

October 7, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

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Both city and North Dakota state park leaders took a closer look at some of the flood damage to Fort Lincoln State Park south of Mandan on Thursday (Oct. 6). And they say the cost of cleaning up and reopening the park`s campground won’t be cheap, KFYR-TV, Bismarck, reported.

The water line is clearly visible at the campground, nearly seven feet high in some places. The Missouri River flooded nearly 100 campsites and deposited heavy silt for workers to clean up.

They saved the picnic tables, but lost much else in what’s been a devastating summer for Fort Lincoln State Park.

Biologist Kathy Duttenhefner said, “That’s all they’ve been doing is cutting down, cutting apart and dragging stumps out of here.”

Park staff have already counted nearly 100 trees that have collapsed from flooding. Some of the ones that haven’t been uprooted are now falling victim to beavers.

“All of our plantings have been wiped out. They’re all dead. Our two cabins, those will be about $34,000 to replace those,” park manager Dan Schelske.

“They haven’t been here very long, so hopefully FEMA will kick in for that,” added Duttenhefner.

In the past few months, wasps have been some of the only guests at the flooded campground. Dan Schelske can chalk it up to a lost season. Since the first of September, his staff has been in cleanup mode.

Schelske said: “It was hard, because a lot of people, especially local folks, this is their park. They like to come out here and sit under the cottonwoods and relax in the shade.”

By next summer, however, shade may be at a premium with far fewer trees surviving the flood. Biologists say they’re now concerned about replanting.

“We`ve got the Heart River down here. And if it floods, there`s not much sense in trying to replace the grass here. Tree plantings will all go in the spring whether it floods or not,” said Duttenhefner.

Now that the nearly seven feet of floodwater has drained out of the area, park staff say they’re optimistic about next summer.

“This is a hardworking park,” said Duttenhefner. “And they’ll be up and running. Because I’ve never seen a group of people work so hard before.

And the staff will have to continue working hard if they hope to open the campground by their target date, the first of June.

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