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Storm damage and flooding impact some Iowa state parks for Memorial Day weekend

  • 5/23/2024 10:41:00 AM
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Several Iowa state parks have been impacted by recent heavy rains and storms, causing closures in some areas. Visitors are urged to plan in advance heading into the holiday weekend in case a park activity or location is affected. 

Impacted parks include:

Backbone State Park (Delaware County) - The north gate entrance is currently closed. Mud and sand are on the road in the flats area. Debris and logs are along the trout stream road. Staff will reopen the north entrance once roadway cleanup is complete. 

Big Creek State Park (Polk County) - Flash flooding has caused high water at Big Creek Lake, which should recede by the weekend. Damage from flooding will be assessed once water levels go down, but is expected to be minor. Access to docks at the marina may be impacted.

Dolliver Memorial State Park (Webster County) - The road in the central part of the park is currently closed due to flooding. The campground, cabins, and center lodge will be closed through the Memorial Day weekend. The north shelter and south lodge will be accessible.  

George Wyth State Park (Black Hawk County) - The park is closed through Memorial Day weekend and possibly longer due to flooding and the potential for more rain. The park is closed to all traffic including driving, walking and biking. 

Ledges State Park (Boone County) - The canyon drive is currently closed to vehicle traffic due to flash flooding. Visitors can hike into the canyon from the Oak Woods picnic area (near the Canyon entrance gates) but are advised not to enter the rapid, rising streams. As the Des Moines River crests Friday, the county road (Oriole Road) on the west side of the park is expected to be flooded.

Rock Creek State Park (Jasper County) - the west road to the beach, in addition to the beach, beach boat ramp, west shelter and trail access are all closed due to flash flooding. Some campsites will be closed due to debris and flooding. Visitors should avoid any dock that is in a bind or not in its normal location. The south end boat ramp and shelter also are closed due to excessive debris and damage. The lake contains a significant amount of new debris and trees from recent rains. 

Walnut Woods State Park (Polk County) – The Purple Martin Water Resource Area has experienced flooding. The area will remain open, but part of the loop trail is inaccessible.

Wapsipinicon State Park (Jones County) - The Wapsipinicon River is expected to flood parts of the park. Staff plan to close some roads starting Friday, May 24, which will make the lodge and playground shelter inaccessible.  

Additionally, several trails are closed to equestrian and bike use at Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, Elk Rock State Park, Stephens State Forest and Volga River State Recreation Area due to wet conditions.

Visitors are encouraged to avoid driving through high water and to use extra safety precautions for water recreation activities due to swift currents and debris in many lakes and rivers. Additionally, be aware of potential tree debris within parks in mowed areas and on trails; staff are cleaning as they are able. A full listing of alerts and closures can be found at