Yellow River Forest Campsites Coming Back
There’s still plenty of restoration ahead, after flooding last month in Yellow River State Forest. However, camping is open for business again, on a limited basis.
Storms on the weekend of June 21-23 dumped 11 inches of rain through the wooded valleys in
Allamakee County, raising area streams far out of their banks. More than 80 campers were evacuated. In the aftermath, cleanup crews faced piles of tree trunks, limbs and other debris through the campsites.
Picnic tables and concrete-embedded fire rings were washed downstream.
By early this week, though, camping had resumed at Big Paint Creek campground. As new campsite numbers are posted, online reservations will be available again. Park workers scoured the stream bed as water receded and recovered most of the tables; without much damage. Fire rings were wrestled back into place.
Several major projects continue, such as trail renovation and repositioning a snowmobile bridge which was knocked off its foundation. Forestry crews are restoring trails. Frontier Equestrian campground is back in shape, though still closed until the adjoining trails have been repaired. Park crews this week are returning Little Paint Creek campground to near-normal.
A car which was swept under the bridge—the driver escaped through the sunroof—has been located. The tangled wreckage was spotted under the span, masked by tree trunks, limbs and other debris after water levels went down.
Meanwhile, anglers are asking about trout stocking on the popular streams. Crews from the Big Spring Hatchery—knee deep in floodwater cleanup themselves—are stocking Paint Creek, outside the campgrounds, where their trucks can reach stocking points along the stream. Before resuming stocking the campground steams, hatchery crews will check with park workers, to avoid interfering with cleanup and repair.