Heavy rains flood some state campsites and trails; causes dangerous river conditions

Published 9:25 am Friday, July 15, 2016

Heavy rains in portions of north central and east central Minnesota have flooded campsites and other facilities at some state parks, prompted the closure of several off-highway vehicle trails and state forest roads and created dangerous river conditions, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Water levels continue to rise on rivers and streams in the region, including the Mississippi and St. Croix, and are projected to continue rising over the next several days. Fast moving, swollen rivers should be avoided; water recreationists are advised to check the state water trails website for river level information to locate rivers unaffected by the flooding event.

Though all state parks remain open, some campsites, trails and facilities are temporarily closed.

Email newsletter signup

Conditions across the affected region are changing rapidly; anyone planning to visit a park or trail in the days ahead should check the DNR website for visitor alerts or call local park or DNR offices before leaving home. Where campsites are flooded, state park staff are notifying reservation holders and issuing refunds.

“By checking conditions online, state park visitors and river and trail users should be able to find alternative locations where they can still get out to recreate safely and responsibly,” said parks and trails district supervisor Joe Alberio. “Closures will be lifted as soon as conditions allow and repairs are made. If unsure about the status of a campground, trail or river, the best option is to either check the DNR’s website or call the local state park office.”

According to a press release, closures currently include the campground at Interstate State Park; Rock Lake Campground in Pillsbury State Forest; Tamarack Horsecamp and Boulder Campground in the St. Croix State Forest; off-highway vehicle trails and some forest roads in the Nemadji and St. Croix state forests; the Kettle River Bridge north of Rutledge and the Willow River Bridge on the Willard Munger State Trail.

Other state park, trail and facility closures may exist in areas of high water or storm damage. Check online at www.mndnr.gov/closures for updates on current conditions before traveling.

While some state park and trail facilities may reopen, high water conditions can persist in rivers and lakes for an extended period of time following flooding events. Water recreationists should avoid flooded water bodies, stay alert for potential storm debris in waterways, and be sure to wear a life jacket at all times. For current river level reports, check www.mndnr.gov/river_levels.

Additionally, some public water accesses may be inaccessible due to high water conditions and slow no-wake restrictions may be in place. To find alternate public water access locations, visit mndnr.gov/wateraccess.

For more information, contact the DNR information center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or Mondaythrough Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367. Current information on road closures and travel conditions is available at www.511mn.org/.