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Lake Macbride State Park closed after derecho damage

DNR continues to assess damage
Lake Macbride closed 3 Lake Macbride State Park and Palisades-Kepler State Park and Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area in Linn County are completely closed until further notice due to unsafe conditions.

DES MOINES– Lake Macbride and several other nearby state parks have been closed indefinitely as the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) continues to assess damage caused by a widespread derecho Monday, Aug. 10.
The inland hurricane, sporting winds in excess of 100 miles per hour, struck a large portion of Iowa and left several state parks with significant damage.
Lake Macbride State Park in Johnson County and Palisades-Kepler State Park and Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area in Linn County are completely closed until further notice due to unsafe conditions.
The damage to Lake Macbride was very extensive, according to Park Manager Ron Puettmann.
Most damage was caused by trees downed on power lines, campers and some sailboats, he said, adding no structures appeared to be damaged significantly.
“Our docks were pushed pretty good with the wind, so some pipes were bent, making access to pontoons a little tricky,” he reported.
As of Monday morning, Aug. 17, power had not yet been restored, Puettmann said.
“Power lines are on the ground, so we need to close to take the time necessary to make it safe for visitors,” he said. “Both campgrounds are closed temporarily until we can secure a tree service to address hanging limbs and hazard trees. If cleanup goes well and power is restored, we may be able to re-open portions of the north side next week, but likely not campgrounds yet. Trails are going to take a while to get to, so we urge visitors to keep off trails temporarily.”
Puettmann said the modern and primitive campgrounds, beach, boat rental, Main ramp, main lodge, north side trails, spillway/waterfall/Coralville ramp and fish grinding station are closed.
The Opie Avenue ramp, Sailboat ramp, Anglers Point ramp and most south side fishing areas are open.
“As with any disaster, there will likely be damages we have not seen yet, or will need time to get to,” he added. “We thank the public for their patience as we work through this.”
With most of the damage being downed trees and tree limbs caused by significant winds, the DNR urges visitors to use extreme caution when visiting any open parks. The top priority is the safety of any visitors at the state parks, according to a press release.
Wapsipinicon State Park in Jones County is also closed.
The following parks were experiencing partial closures:
• Rock Creek State Park (Jasper County) is partially open, but is 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 State Park (Polk County) is open with limited services. The park remains without power and phone service. Sections of the park may temporarily close as staff continues 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 Aug. 16. The Neal Smith Trail between Sycamore and Saylor Creek also remains closed due to construction.
• Ledges State Park (Boone County) is open, however, the park is without power and phone service. The campground is open but has no electricity. Full hook-up campsites do not have water or sewer service and the campground dump station is closed. Modern restroom facilities including the shower buildings will be closed if the power is not restored on Friday morning. The Canyon Drive is open to vehicle traffic and most trails are free of storm debris.
• Union Grove State Park (Tama County) is mostly open, however, the park remains 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.
• Walnut Woods State Park (Polk County) is open but has no phone or internet services. Staff availability is limited as they are busy assessing the damage throughout the park.
• Wildcat Den State Park (Muscatine County) is open but some trails may be inaccessible at this time. Park visitors may still access the trail system, but large limbs and downed trees should be expected. Use caution when hiking around downed trees or hanging limbs.
Park visitors are strongly encouraged to avoid areas with debris and parks staff that are busy assessing and removing the debris. 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://www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Alerts-and-Closures.