Fort Lincoln still drying outCamp sites at Fort Lincoln State Park south of Mandan that normally are hosting campers this time of year are still quiet and empty. Flooding at the park has workers scrambling to get the sites ready in time for a delayed opening now planned for May 15.
MANDAN (AP) — Camp sites at Fort Lincoln State Park south of Mandan that normally are hosting campers this time of year are still quiet and empty.
Flooding at the park has workers scrambling to get the sites ready in time for a delayed opening now planned for May 15.
“In a normal year, we’d have campers already,” manager Dan Schelske said. “But this was an extraordinary winter.”
Late-March flooding caused by river ice jams hit the park hard. Schelske said that at one point he waded through chest-deep water by the main comfort station.
The park must get its sewer lift station back up and running. There is as much as 5 inches of mud and silt covering much of the grounds that must be cleaned up. Electrical hookups must be repaired at all but 10 of the 57 camp sites that have them.
Water also flooded two cabins with a foot or more of water. Baseboard heaters, electrical outlets and the floor itself will have to be replaced, and walls will have to be torn open to assess damage.
Schelske said the park had to buy new pumps and thousands of feet of hose to pump out the millions of gallons of floodwaters so the park could dry out. There is tons of debris to remove, and officials are still assessing how many trees were lost.
A landslide about a quarter mile north of the campground damaged a state-owned track that is leased to Jim Beck, who runs a trolley ride from Mandan to the park.
“It’s a bad spot for it to have happened. It’s a tough place to get to,” he said.
Beck said he hopes to have the trolley running this summer. Thousands of riders take the five-mile trip to the park during the season that runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, he said.
More than 7,000 campers stayed at the park last year, setting a record, Schelske said.