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Old 09-12-2020, 08:48 PM
Newton Daily News Newton Daily News is offline
 
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Default Campground at Rock Creek State Park now open to the public

The campground at Rock Creek State Park is now open after a month of closure after the August derecho.*

The park, located just east of Kellogg, sustained significant tree damage throughout the park, according to Kory Kinnick, park ranger with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The campground area in particular had damage from splitting, cracking or completely uprooted trees.*

“(These) had to be removed from the campground for safety purposes. In the campground alone 130 trees were identified as having some sort of damage, hazard, or compromising factor which was then removed, trimmed or pruned,” Kinnick said.*

The park buildings sustained minor damage to roofs and siding and some of the electrical pedestals were damaged by trees of campers. Kinnick said two of the park boat docks were tipped onto its side and twisted. These will be removed and replaced.*

The areas that remain closed are the second and third picnic areas on the eastside, just south of the campground entrance and the multi-use trail around the lake. These areas still have hazardous trees and hangers that need to be taken care of before allowing the public use of these areas again.*

“We worked very hard to keep as much of the park open as possible to allow for day use and fishing activities to continue as long as the areas were safe and cleared from debris,” Kinnick said.*

At this point, park staff has not been able to fully assess the damage to the park trail as their efforts were focused on cleanup in other areas. Kinnick said it is safe to assume the trail also has severe tree damage but infrastructure damage is minimal. The timeline for reopening these areas is uncertain but the hope is to get the picnic areas open by the end of September and the trail area by the end of the year.*

As park staff has worked to address all of the damage from the storm, state foresters and interns helped to assess everything that needed to be removed, pruned or trimmed. Departmental engineers were also brought in to examine areas throughout the park to ensure the structural safety of the park facilities. Staff continues to cut and remove debris as quickly and as safely as possible to get the park ready for the public.*

“The campground is looking very different than before the storm, but the area will be as safe as possible. A tree trimming and cutting crew spent approximately eight days cutting and trimming all the trees in the campground that were identified by the forester and that the park staff could not trim or remove,” Kinnick said.*

Park staff are also grateful to the many volunteers who also pitched in the help with the cleanup effort and stump removal.*

All closure information is posted on iowadnr.gov and the reservation system website at iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com. For anyone looking for the most accurate day-to-day updates can call the park office at 641-236-3722.*

“We have been closed for right at a month and the staff and Park Ranger is really looking forward to seeing the campers and park patrons come back in and use the park. We work very hard to keep it clean, safe and well-groomed. It is very rewarding to see people use the park and its amenities,” Kinnick said.*

Contact Pam Pratt at 641-792-3121 ext. 6530 or pampratt@newtondailynews.com



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