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Popular state park to remain closed over holiday weekend

(Radio Iowa News) – Dozens of people who reserved campsites or other facilities at a popular state park in northeast Iowa are making new plans for this holiday weekend. George Wyth State Park in Waterloo/Cedar Falls has been closed since Tuesday due to flooding.

Greg Van Fosson is a State Parks Supervisor with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. He says it was hoped the park could be opened Saturday, but the flooding was worse than initially anticipated. “Even though the water is going down, because the water was so high, it will have damaged some parking lots. The campground sites, probably 12 to 15 of the roughly 50 electric sites, will have been submerged,” Van Fosson says. “Until those are dried out, cleaned out, and inspected, we can’t reopen those.”

Any campers or those who reserved other facilities in the park are being offered full refunds. “We have several shelters in the park that are reservable, not to mention we have a lodge. There was a wedding planned at the lodge on Saturday and a graduation party on Sunday,” Van Fosson says.

Flooding affects George Wyth often and Van Fosson says park users aren’t the only ones who are frustrated. He notes they’re still fixing damages to the park from the flood of 2008. “We had some flooding in 2009, 2010, and even a little bit in 2011. Every time it floods, it’s disappointing and causes delays and extra expenses,” Van Fosson says. “We’re just as disappointed as the public.”

The park could potentially reopen for day use activities on Monday, according to Van Fosson, if there is no additional rainfall in the Cedar River watershed. The campground will likely remain closed until Wednesday.