Larson’s Landing a Year After Missouri Flood

September 5, 2012 by · Comments Off on Larson’s Landing a Year After Missouri Flood 

In June 2011, about 46 RVs and 22 mobile homes had to evacuate Larson’s Landing in Yankton, S.D., to leave behind what later became a lifeless area; however, now, a year later, that story is nothing but history, KCAU-TV, Sioux City, Iowa, reported.

A tight knit group of friends and family helped Doug and Linda Larson of Larson’s Landing remove thousands of sandbags and clean up the park.

Now, a year later after the flood, the park may look slightly different but has come a long ways.

It opened back up for business April 1, bringing back life to the once flooded area.

“I want to cry, not because I’m sad but because I’m happy,” said Linda. “I use to cry because I was sad. This is just a miracle.”

To help cover some of the expenses the Larson’s were given a disaster loan by the federal government.

Because it couldn’t cover all of it, the Larson’s had to use personal finances to cover the rest.

The park is planning to stay open until Nov. 1.

Larson’s Landing Celebrates a Happy July 4th

July 5, 2012 by · Comments Off on Larson’s Landing Celebrates a Happy July 4th 

Click here to watch a video, courtesy of KDLT-TV, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Celebrating the 4th of July on the banks of the Missouri River was more memorable for some this year.

Larson’s Landing in Sioux Falls, S.D., after being engulfed with floodwaters last year, is back open for business.

“Who would have thought a year ago,” said Linda Larson.

Now, the Larsons enjoy rows of RVs along the rivers edge, a sight they weren’t sure they would see by the 4th of July.

“Even though we said by the Fourth it was kind of looking like maybe that wouldn’t happen,” said Linda Larson.

But, it did. And the Larsons’ positive attitude helped them reopen the RV park.

“People come down here for the first time and never know this was all flood. You’d be in water up to your head right now,” said Doug Larson.

While people enjoy the marina, there’s still more work to be done at Larson’s Landing. Crews, even on the holiday, work to remove excess sand to make room for three additional RV pads.

“We talk about it being Linda and my park. It belongs to the campers,” said Doug Larson.

The water is gone and the campers are back.

“Isn’t this exciting?” said Linda Larson.

A long year for the Larsons who rebuild in hopes to return the smiles of families who enjoy their park.

Hope Keeps Larson’s Rebuilding Effort on Course

May 23, 2012 by · Comments Off on Hope Keeps Larson’s Rebuilding Effort on Course 

It was like nothing Siouxland had ever seen. Until the summer of 2011, Gavins Point Dam had never released more than 70,000 cubic feet of water per second, KTIV-TV, Sioux City, Iowa, reported.

By late May, releases were expected to reach 110,000 to 120,000 cfs. Even those estimates fell short.

On June 23, the dam reached an astounding peak of 160,000 cfs, enough to fill more than 2 million, 2-liter soda bottles every second.

That water ended up drowning an RV and trailer community called Larson’s Landing, near Yankton, S.D.

Folks made it out OK, but many of their summer homes were lost.

Larry Steinbrecher has set up camp in Larson’s Landing near Yankton, South Dakota, for three years now.

Last summer’s record flooding destroyed more than just his campsite. “For myself, it was just an unmanageable,” he said.

Sandbags were set up to keep the current from sweeping away the river bank. They’re still there.

Owner Doug Larson said they may have saved part of the land. But when the water receded, he didn’t even know where to begin.

“There was so much debris and junk and it was really just disheartening to look at it all,” said Larson.

Last year, when Steinbrecher heard about the possibility of flood waters moving in, he had moved everything out.

“We had trailers and trucks and all kinds of stuff, packed out. When we left there was nothing on our property except for sand,” said Steinbrecher.

The Steinbrechers were one of the first families to move back in after the waters receded. Now, like many other residents, Steinbrecher spends most of his days clearing the shoreline and grinding up stumps and driftwood.

“We have the second shot at doing stuff,” said Steinbrecher. “So, when we came back we really had a chance to improve on our site.”

While waters knocked out a large portion of the beach at Larson’s Landing, including a section that used to be a volleyball court, the Larsons are confident that they’ll be able to rebuild, even if it takes some time.

That hope is what keeps Larson going.

“If it wasn’t for that,” said Larson. “Linda and I would have jumped in the river a long time ago.”

Doug Larson hopes to have 30 new pads ready for residents by the Fourth of July.

Missouri River Flooding Becomes Tourist Draw

August 2, 2011 by · Comments Off on Missouri River Flooding Becomes Tourist Draw 

Aerial view of Gavins Point Dam in normal times.

Flooding along the Missouri River has devastated local homes and businesses this summer. But its impact on tourism isn’t so black and white, KELO-TV, Sioux Falls, S.D., reported.

The high water may be keeping people away from traditional vacation spots and attractions, but the water’s also causing more intrigue.

The water at Larson’s Landing in Yankton, S.D., has actually gone down. But not enough to keep it running.

“Unfortunately, at the beginning of summer, we did have to close two of our campgrounds,” Yankton Convention & Visitors Bureau director Lisa Scheve said.

Scheve says the start of summer was difficult for the city, simply convincing people the area was safe.

“Towards the beginning of June, we did have some concerns,” Scheve said. “There were some cancellations at some of our accommodations because people were concerned they weren’t going to be able to make it here.”

But as the waters continued rushing at a historic pace, the more people wanted to see.

“It’s worked both ways, positively and negatively,” Scheve said. “I think we’ve seen an increase in exposure with more people coming to the area that possibly haven’t been here before. People are making day trips to come and see Gavins Point Dam west of Yankton and the releases it’s had here.”

Gavins Point Dam has become the de facto tourist attraction in Yankton, with people from all across the country amazed by its power.

“I think it’s impressive,” Grand Rapids, Mich., resident Marv Van Heuvelen said. “I was through Yankton once before and it was just a gently flowing river.”

“People are coming in, using gas stations and restaurants, checking out our visitors centers to try to learn more information not only on Gavins Point Dam, but the rest of the area,” Scheve said.

Even though the releases at Gavins Point Dam have gone down, tourism officials expect it to be an attraction for the rest of the summer.

“Regardless of releases, there’s always a different wave of people who come through throughout the summer,” Scheve said. “There are definitely lots of families because kids are out of school.”

And while Gavins Point has proven to be a major draw, that’s not the case downstream in South Sioux City, Neb.

“I probably receive about 10 to 15 phone calls a day asking if the bridges are open,” South Sioux City Convention & Visitors Bureau director Brent Clark said.

Clark says he’s had to fend off major rumors throughout the summer. The bridges are still open, and while there’s an intrigue in what the situation looks like, that’s not helping the city’s bottom line.

“We have seen a decrease in lodging and tax dollars,” Clark said. “Usually, in these types of months, it’s our highest revenue source in the summertime.”

Clark says a lot of campgrounds and baseball fields are flooded, but he encourages people to go to areas that are open like Crystal Cove Park. And as the summer winds down, tourism officials along the Missouri River have accepted how the flooding is just another part of their respective areas.

“You really just move forward and make lemonade out of the lemons you’re dealt,” Clark said.

“You take each punch as it comes,” Scheve said. “You roll with the punches as the days change and situations change and try to make sure that we continue to keep Yankton’s name out there in a positive manner.”

Scheve says the intrigue at Gavins Point has also impacted visitors centers around the area. She says all the centers around the area have set new records already this summer.

Click here to view release of water from the Gavins Point Dam. Video is courtesy of the Argus Leader.

Relief Coming for Flooded Larson’s Landing

July 28, 2011 by · Comments Off on Relief Coming for Flooded Larson’s Landing 

Some relief is on the way for Larson’s Landing, the RV park located the Missouri River in Yankton, S.D., which has been inundated by floodwaters this summer, the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan reported.

The Army Corps of Engineers announced earlier this month it would reduce releases at Gavins Point Dam from 160,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 155,000 cfs Saturday (July 30), followed by a reduction to 150,000 cfs on Aug. 1. Current projections call for releases to remain at 150,000 cfs through Aug. 12.

Doug Larson, owner of Larson’s Landing, said he is looking forward to the lowered releases.

So far, the RV park has lost 17 of 22 mobile homes and 45 of 62 RV pads due to floodwaters.

“If it goes down to a 150,000, it will take a lot of pressure off my sandbags on the west side, which it’s going over right now,” he said.

While the slight decrease in water levels will help, Larson said he won’t be able to do much with the park just yet.

“Once they get it down to maybe 120,000, we can start cleaning some of the area,” he said. “It’ll go down about a foot when it gets to 150,000, but that isn’t enough to get it out of the park yet. When it gets down to 120,000, we should be able to get into part of the park and start cleaning that up.”

Flooding Update-Larson’s Landing Under Water

June 10, 2011 by · Comments Off on Flooding Update-Larson’s Landing Under Water 

Following are updates from the nation’s media about record-setting flooding in the Western U.S.:


Click here to watch a video, courtesy of KDLT-TV, for the latest on Larson’s Landing in Yankton, S.D.

Where there used to be rows of RVs, now water flows, KDLT-TV, Sioux Falls, S.D., reported.

“Today we are moving the last of the people out in the lower area. Everything thing will be shut down from just over this hill down until the river,” said Doug Larson, owner of Larson’s Landing RV Park.

Larson is also forced to move out of his own home and into an RV of his own.

“My wife and I are wondering how we are going to make it in here for a year, but there are a lot of people who live in motor homes all year round. Didn’t think I was going to be one of them,” said Larson.

Many people call this place home, but they were forced out because of the Missouri River flooding. But the sandbags are proof that they did everything they could.

“If they keep this up all season long it’s going to be nothing but construction all season,” said Larson. “We will still have this upper area maybe that could open up, but the rest of it we will have to start from square one.”

But those forced to move out, want to help Larson start again.

“They said ‘Let’s get this thing done so we can get back in here.’ And as they left they said ‘We’ll be back.'”

Larson says he only has about 10 to 15 campsites that are operational for the rest of the season.


The Missoula Missoulian reports the following campground closures due to flooding:

  • In Sanders County, Clark Fork Memorial Campground on Thompson River is closed.
  • In Ravalli County, Spring Gulch Campground is closed due to flooding. One campsite at Rombo Campground is closed due to flooding, and flooding may occur at other campsites, which could close if water continues to rise.
  • In Flathead County, some campsites are closed at Big Creek Campground in the Flathead National Forest near the North Fork of the Flathead River. The beach area at Tally Falls Campground is also closed.
  • State Park closures: At Bannack State Park near Dillon, the Vigilante and Road Agent campgrounds along the group area are closed. The visitor center at Chief Plenty Coups State Park near Billings is closed. At Cooney State Park on Cooney Reservoir, campgrounds and day-use areas are closed. Non-electric campsite opportunities at Hell Creek State Park on Fort Peck Reservoir are limited due to high water. The park recommends calling ahead to check camping availability and conditions.

Yankton Park Owner Watches Life’s Work Wash Away

June 7, 2011 by · Comments Off on Yankton Park Owner Watches Life’s Work Wash Away 

Doug Larson has called Larson’s Landing, near Yankton, S.D., home for 30 years. Now, he’s forced to watch his home and business wash away in a matter of days, KTIV-TV, Sioux City, Iowa, reported.

Tenants have moved 45 of the landing’s 64 trailers away from the floodwaters of the Missouri River.

“I still have a couple down here. As soon as the septic tanks fail, they’ll be out of here. That’ll be tomorrow.”

Larson’s already out of his home.

“It’s gonna flood,” Larson concedes. “But, leaving wasn’t easy. It’s rough, real rough. We put a lot of work into here, and there it goes.”

His wife, Linda is trying to look on the bright side.

“I’m positive that I’m alive, and I have my motorhome, which I never thought I’d be thankful for. But, at least we have a place to live, and we can rebuild,” she said.

That’s right. When floodwaters recede, the Larsons plan to rebuild.

“I don’t think they can screw up that bad twice!,” Doug Larson said.

“They” is the Army Corps of Engineers, and record releases the agency ordered from upstream dams.

“I just hope it doesn’t go too long,” he added.

To make sure Larson has something to come back to, volunteers built a sandbag wall to make sure the sandy point Larson’s Landing is built on doesn’t wash away, completely.