Montana Campground Digs Out from Floods
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock declared flood emergencies for 15 Montana counties and two reservations last week, and communities are still picking up the pieces.
Beaver Creek Park near Havre in Hill County was hit hard, and the cost of flood damage is still being totaled, KAJ-TV, Kalispell, reported.
The stream beds, campground and numerous roads have been destroyed or altered, but officials say they are used to Mother Nature's way of "redecorating."
"We had a lot of flood damage within the campgrounds themselves, and then we also had damage to the road accessing the campgrounds," Chad Edgar said.
This is the fourth time in the past 10 years that the area has dealt with flood damage.
"A lot of it is repeat damage from 2010 and 2011. We both had floods in those two years, so this is starting to get to be a regular occurrence," Edgar noted.
Hill County as whole has seen significant damage, reporting over $1 million worth, but the hardest hit areas were the Beaver Creek Park campground and along Big Sandy Creek, leaving the county to seek federal help.
"We declared an emergency first, and the damage was assessed, and the water continued to cause damage. [So] we went to a disaster declaration, Hill County Commissioner Jeff Lavoi explained.
The county is still in the process of applying for federal aid, but they are doing what they can to open the campgrounds and fix the roads for visitors.
The first thing we do is, we pick the easy jobs, and we try to open up access so people can actually get back into some of the regular campgrounds," Edgar said.
Officials say only 15% of the park is closed due to damage, and they are hoping to open the rest as soon as possible.