Soggy Start at Wisconsin's Pettibone RV Park

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June 18, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

Today's video is courtesy of WXOW-TV, La Crosse, Wis.

Last year, business was booming at Pettibone RV Park and Campground due to the early spring and nice weather. This year it's a different story.

"This year before we opened every site was unusable, until about the middle of May," said Zeb Allert, Pettibone campground manager.

The campground normally tries to open April 1-15. This year, flooding kept them closed until the mid-May.

"La Crosse specifically hasn't seen much flooding at all," said Alex Kirchner, WXOW Daybreak Meteorologist. "In fact, the Mississippi didn't flood whatsoever. However, if you get that river stage anywhere above 10 feet in La Crosse you can see some lowland, some shoreline flooding, especially in Pettibone and some of those other parks that are right on the river. So you don't have to have a full on flood in order to have water problems in those parks."

The campground officially opened on May 13, but even with usable sites, wet weather kept the crowds away.

"Before Memorial Day it was kind of slow," said Allert. "People were really suspect about the river. They didn't want to get caught into a flood situation. And it being so wet they just were kind of waiting for the sure thing."

But it hasn't been all bad. Reservations are picking up and some of this is being attributed to the slow spring.

"The bad weather was a blessing, I think, in disguise," said Allert. "Obviously with losing those two months was kind of hard on the books but in the hindsight of everything it is picking up and we are getting a lot more reservations come June and July."

In fact, Allert said reservations are 10% to15% higher than they were last year. Part of this has to do with a number of seasonal sites that were added last year but did not get booked. This year, all but one are in use.

"As soon as Memorial Day hit, we were packed," said Allert. "Completely maxed out. And every since then reservations have picked up, probably a head of schedule."

If this keeps up, Allert said they should be able to recoup their losses. But it all depends on the weather.

"Being right by the river I always tell people that come in, whether it's people coming in for the weekend or our seasonal groups, that the good days are really, really good around here. They're picture perfect. But the bad days are really, really bad. The water comes up and people have to move. And it's time and it's money and it's a big headache for everyone involved."

Right now, all sites are up and running at Pettibone except for a few low-lying tent sites.


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