Flooding indefinitely closes popular Allamakee Co. campground - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Flooding indefinitely closes popular Allamakee Co. campground

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Two rounds of unprecedented flash flooding this weekend at Yellow River State Forest in Allamakee County forced the indefinite closure of some popular campgrounds. Two rounds of unprecedented flash flooding this weekend at Yellow River State Forest in Allamakee County forced the indefinite closure of some popular campgrounds.
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ALLAMAKEE COUNTY (KWWL) -

Widespread flooding in Allamakee County has already damaged homes, businesses, roads and bridges.

Now, two rounds of unprecedented flash flooding this weekend at Yellow River State Forest in Allamakee County forced the indefinite closure of some popular campgrounds.

Normally a popular and peaceful retreat, Little Paint Campground now looks like a disaster zone.

On Saturday morning, emergency responders rescued nearly 70 stranded campers.

Yellow River State Forest's park ranger Rylan Retallick said flash flooding early Saturday morning caused Little Paint Creek to jump its banks and rage over the campground's roads.

A car was swept away by the flood waters and knocked a footbridge off its foundation, stranding nearly 70 campers.

Retallick said what responders had to use was, "ATVs, UTVs, down a horse trail in the back here, which got us to the back to make contact, get them water, and that's how we got people out."

Before leaving, campers moved their vehicles to higher ground. Now, it's a virtual ghost town, since none of the vehicles can go anywhere until the water further recedes.

"By far, it was the worst I've ever seen, the worst some of these locals have ever seen in 50 years," Retallick said.

Flooding devastated the state forest's Creek Side Equestrian Campground, too.

Retallick said he and his crew members face months of repair. He watched this weekend as years of his landscaping and hard work washed downstream.

Despite the dangerous situations, nobody was hurt. Retallick said he's thankful this wasn't a very busy camping weekend, or else what's now a cleanup effort and search for missing campground equipment might otherwise include a search for bodies.

Allamakee County emergency management coordinator Chris Dahlstrom said anybody in the county who hasn't yet reported flood damage can do so by calling his office at 563-568-4233.

That number replaces calling 211, he said, though anybody who has already reported damage to the 211 line does not need to call his office, as the county already has their damage report.

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