After being closed all summer, Wakonda State Park is back open but flood recovery continues.
Jack Knau and his family sad they’ve had this camping trip planned for more than a year. So when they heard Wakonda State Park was underwater for much of the summer, they were worried they might have to cancel.
“We’ve been here several times over the last couple of years. We didn’t think it would be open because of the flooding and we hate to see everyone put out because of the floods but the campground looks pretty good,” said Knau.
But the park opened up just in time for the family getaway. Park officials said their staff has been working non stop to clean up the park for the past few weeks.
“We had to do a lot of repairs, a lot to buildings. We had to do a lot of cleaning. After the flood water recedes, it’s a pretty bad mess. You have to go in and power wash the buildings and repaint them,” said Rich Nelson who works at the park.
Water has receded to allow campground areas to reopen but other areas of the park are still closed like the swimming beach and the boat ramp because of how high the water still is.
“When the water recedes, we’re gonna have to do some more work to get the trails open so people can use that and we’ll have to put back out everything for the swimming beach and the swimming line to get everything ready,” said Nelson.
That means it may not be until Labor Day before those areas of the park are back open. Meanwhile, campers like Knau are simply happy they’re able to enjoy the great outdoors.
“I’ve been camping ever since I was a little kid. In fact most of us have, we’ve all been camping. Our parents, our grandparents, our aunts and uncles, everybody camps,” said Knau.
There are plenty of campsites available as word spreads that the park is back open so if you wanted to get a last minute camping trip in before school starts in a couple weeks, officials said come on out.
Park officials estimate they will spend around $150,000 to clean up the park.