IOWA DERECHO 2020

Some Iowa state parks closed because of derecho storm damage

Palisades-Kepler, Macbride, Wapsipinicon closed until further notice

Palisades-Kepler State Park is closed indefinitely because of fallen trees and debris caused by Monday's derecho. (Photo
Palisades-Kepler State Park is closed indefinitely because of fallen trees and debris caused by Monday’s derecho. (Photo courtesy Iowa Department of Natural Resources)

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has closed some Eastern Iowa state parks because of unsafe conditions caused by Monday’s derecho, while other parks have partial closures.

Closed parks include:

• Palisades-Kepler State Park, near Mount Vernon

• Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area, near Palo

• Lake Macbride State Park, near Solon

• Wapsipinicon State Park, near Anamosa.

“Staff continue to assess the extent of the damage and are beginning to work on cleanup efforts,” the DNR reported Friday. “The parks will remain closed to the public until they can be safely reopened.”

Several state parks have partial closures due to the loss of electricity, the DNR reports.

Union Grove, in Tama County, is mostly open, but without power and phone service. The rental cabins remain closed and the trail systems are not open at this time.

The campground is open with flush toilets available, but there is no hot water or electricity.

Wildcat Den, in Muscatine County, is open, but some trails may be inaccessible. Officials urge caution when hiking around downed trees or hanging limbs.

Rock Creek, in Jasper County, is partially open but without power, which is affecting water pressure and access. The east side of the park — which includes the park office, trails, disc golf course and campground — is closed until further notice. The west side of the park, which includes the beach, is open but has no power.

Big Creek, in Polk County, is open with limited services. The park remains without power and phone service. Sections of the park may close temporarily as staff continue to clean up storm debris.

Boat ramps may be closed on the east side as courtesy docks were damaged and are being removed. The marina concession will remain closed through Sunday.

The Neal Smith Trail between Sycamore and Saylor Creek also remains closed due to construction.

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Ledges, in Boone County, is open. However, the park is without power and phone service. The campground is open but has no electricity.

Full hookup campsites do not have water or sewer service and the campground dump station is closed.

Walnut Woods, in Polk County, is open but has no phone or internet. Staff availability is limited as they are busy assessing the damage throughout the park.

If visitors notice damage on trails or other areas that have not been blocked off, please alert park staff.

The DNR will directly contact anyone with reservations affected by these closures to issue refunds.

For a complete list of Iowa State Parks closures and alerts, visit https://bit.ly/3kSUWfJ.

Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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