Wilson Island State Recreation Area north of Council Bluffs will open its gates at 8 a.m., Aug. 4, more than five weeks after its initial planned re-opening was delayed by June storms and flooding that caused additional damage to the popular western Iowa park.
The campground has been closed since it was flooded in 2011.
The three-year, $2.5-$3 million cleanup and rebuild project enters the home stretch as workers are installing fire rings at campsites and the picnic/shelter areas and setting out about 200 picnic tables.
“We have a few more things on the to-do list but we’re getting there,” said Park Ranger Chris Anunson.
The campground remodel includes eliminating the more flood prone sites and changing the first to flood electric sites to non electric. The number of electrical sites increased by 15 but the total number of campsites has been reduced by 10.
The new Wilson Island will have 50 amp service electrical sites, a new shower house, two new dump stations, two new picnic shelters all at higher elevations, and a new park office.
Damage from the June 3 storm that battered Wilson Island with four inches of rain, baseball-sized hail and 80-90 mile per hour winds will still be visible on park buildings, Anunson said.
The newly constructed park office had 11 windows broken, and extensive damage to its siding and metal roof.
“The park is still a work in progress but we’ve come a long way,” Anunson said.
For more information, contact Chris Anunson, Park Ranger, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 712-642-2069.