Campsites, boat ramps still closed along flooded Mississippi River

River flooding affecting conservation areas

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - No relief seems to be in sight for recreation areas along the Mississippi River plagued by months of flooding.

As of Wednesday May 22, the river flood gauge in Cape Girardeau, Missouri was at 40 feet and with the current forecast could rise up to 45 feet next week.

The high water is continuing to affect certain campsites, hiking trails and boat ramps along the Mississippi River.

Denise Dowling is the natural resource manager at Trail of Tears State Park and says the wet Spring weather has taken a toll.

"We've probably lost ten weeks of camping so far,” Dowling said. “And it looks like we are going into the first week of June as well."

Dowling says portions of Pee-Wah trail and the electronic campsite along the riverfront have been underwater since Mid-March.

"What I end up having to do is cancel reservations so not only is it frustrating for me, it's frustrating for campers,” she said. “Especially Memorial Day weekend because those reservations are always gone first."

The high water is also preventing anglers from using public boat ramps along the Mississippi.

“The boat ramps at Trail of Tears, Apple Creek and Red Star have been closed for about two months now,” said John West with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

West says the access points draw in a lot of recreational and commercial fisherman.

"The Mississippi is unique in its diversity of fish that it has and large fish as well that people like to go catch,” West said. “So until the river comes down people are going to have to find other alternatives to go fishing like a reservoir or farm ponds."

Plenty of camping sites and hiking trails are still open at Trail of Tears Park, but staff will have its hands full when the waters recede.

"Getting the debris off of the road, getting the silt off of the road,” Dowling said. “The campground right now, we haven't been able to mow since March. It's going to be one ruly campground so you want us to get in there and mow things and make it look nice and clean it up for you as well."

Right now Missouri Route 177, which leads to Trail of Tears Park, is open but with the current flooding forecast the Missouri Department of Transportation says its possible crews will have to close the road on Friday or Saturday this week.

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