News Release 366

Flooding temporarily closes Big Lake State Park

Volume 38-366 (For Immediate Release)
Contact:   Judd Slivka
573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO., JUNE 22, 2010 – Water from a breached levee has temporarily closed Big Lake State Park in Holt County in northwest Missouri. Missouri Department of Natural Resources officials anticipate the park will be closed at least until August but will continue to evaluate the situation to determine when the park can reopen.

As of 11 a.m. Monday morning, approximately 70 percent of the 407-acre park had water on the ground at varying levels. Water covers the majority of the campsites and is in the day-use vault toilet, office basement and south showerhouse. Water is near the dining lodge, store and motel. The water is expected to continue to rise today and is predicted to crest Wednesday. Park staff are using boats to access the park to check on facilities.

Early warning about anticipated flooding gave the department time to safely evacuate the park and make preparations for the flooding that is expected. Heavy rainfall in northwest Missouri prompted the department to close the park’s campground early last week. The breach of the Union Township Levee north of the park on Thursday prompted the closing of the entire park as flood waters began to move closer to the park.

“We worked closely with the State Emergency Management Agency and local officials and it gave us the information we needed to make the correct decision and prepare for the coming floodwaters,” said Bill Bryan, director of the department’s Division of State Parks.

Because of its location on an oxbow lake near the Missouri River, Big Lake State park has experienced flooding in the past and has plans in place for how to deal with flooding situations. Park staff immediately began taking steps to prepare for the approaching water. 

In anticipation of the flooding, campers and lodging guests were evacuated and refunds issued. Park staff began removing furniture and other items and shutting off utilities. Campers and lodging guests with reservations were notified about the situation. Camping reservations are not being accepted at this time and will resume once officials determine the extent of damage and when the park can reopen.

Although plans for celebrating the Fourth of July at Big Lake State Park may not be possible, there are other state parks in northwest Missouri that will be open for campers and other visitors. These include Wallace State Park near Cameron, Weston Bend State Park near Weston, Watkins Mill State Park and State Historic Site near Lawson and Lewis and Clark State Park near Rushville. For information about these state parks, visit mostateparks.com.

“We know that Big Lake State Park is not the only place in the area that has been flooded. Our thoughts are with the surrounding homeowners, farmers and other neighbors as we recover and rebuild,” Bryan said.

To check the status of Big Lake State Park or for more information about Missouri state parks, go to mostateparks.com or call the Department of Natural Resources toll free at 800-334-6946 (voice) or 800-379-2419 (TDD).  To inquire about reservations for the motel and cabins, call 660-442-5432.

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