California Park Struggles to Rebuild After Flooding (3/6/2019)

Story by Woodall's Campground Management

Flooding at Lake Hemet Campground long-term residential RV sites.Flooding at Lake Hemet Campground long-term residential RV sites.


Nearly three weeks after heavy rains and snow damaged hill infrastructure causing flooding and road closures, residents and businesses in Mountain Center, Calif., are struggling to regain footing in the aftermath, according to the Idyllwild Town Crier.

Mary and Michael Murray, long-time permanent RV residents of Lake Hemet Campground, are waiting for cleanup assistance on their water- and mud-damaged property. They are worried that a breached berm or levee that allowed floodwaters to build on their premium rental space will again breach with new rains. 

The Murrays have lived year-round at the campground for seven years but have been coming to the campground for more than 40 years, even spending their honeymoon in the peace and seclusion of the lakefront site. They were unable to detach their fifth wheel and drive out of the rapidly escalating emergency on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, because of a fully enclosed and attached patio room. 

Other long-term residents were able to detach and drive out on that Thursday. Some, in their haste, did not properly close their sewage connections, causing, according to multiple residents, raw sewage to begin floating throughout flood-damaged sections of the campground.

The issue now for the Murrays and other campground residents is the berm or levee that broke, causing rapidly moving flood waters to impact their residences. As of this writing, the berm has not been repaired. Mary indicated it had broken once before in 2013 under similar flood conditions but had been repaired. She believed it was repaired by Lake Hemet Municipal Water District (LHMWD) crews. 

LHMWD owns the campground, lake and dam but, under a contract in 2011, California Parks now manages the campground. 

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