Six Months After Reservoir Break - Businesses Prepare for Tourists

Six Months After Reservoir Break - Businesses Prepare for Tourists
By: Ryan Tate
Lesterville, MO - Summer tourist season is just around the corner, but the business owners in Lesterville are anticipating the Memorial Day weekend as much as any anyone.
That is because they want to see who shows up.
On December 14th, 2005, one billion gallons of water breached the reservoir on Ameren UE's Profit Mountain.  The rush of water tore a path through the Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park. Much of the water over the past five and half months wound up in the Black River, causing the once clear waters to run cloudy with sediment.
Those waters are the life blood of the tourism businesses in Lesterville, and business owners hope people come back despite the rough winter.
"The river is trying to recover. There's still a lot of sediment," Bob Franklin said.  Franklin owns "Franklin Floats" in Lesterville. "Some folks who have been here for years still don't know if they want to come. Until you see it, it's not the same river you once knew."
Melody Gardner manages "Bearcat Getaways," a campground outside of Lesterville.
"It's Memorial Day Weekend. People will come. It might not be the crystal clear waters, but they'll come back one time at least," Gardner said.
Helping tourist season, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will open the Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park Saturday, May 27th for limited use. It will be the first time the park will be open to the public since the reservoir breach.