Blue Mounds State Park storm damage
Blue Mounds State Park has reopened as of Monday, July 14.
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Why did the park close?
The park received nearly 11 inches of rain during two storms June 14-17, 2014.
Excessive storm water runoff, rapidly rising waters, and accompanying debris in Blue Mounds Creek damaged many areas of the park, including roads, trails, bison fence, and the spillway connected to the dam on Lower Mound Lake. Lower Mound Lake filled rapidly with rushing floodwater from Blue Mounds Creek. Those waters washed out 80 to 90 feet of the spillway, up to the dam itself, which was built in 1940. This drained the lake. A fishing pier on the lake came loose and was swept downstream.
Rushing surface water caused additional erosion damage to roadways and trails within the park, and there was three feet of water in the visitor center.
Despite all the damage, no visitors to the park were injured. The park was closed June 18, and reopened July 14.
What does it look like now, and is anything still closed?
The campground, interpretive center, climbing area and all trails except the Mound Creek Trail have all reopened.
There is E. coli in the park's well. Flush toilets are still available, but there are no showers, sinks, or drinking water. Visitors should bring their own water.
You may notice snowfencing in some areas, and repairs are expected to continue throughout the summer. There is no longer swimming at the park, since the lake was drained.
Were the bison affected?
Water and debris flattened a total of about 200 feet of bison fence in three locations. Despite the loss of fence, no animals escaped and none were injured. The fence has been repaired, and the bison herd weathered the storms well and remains in good health.
What's the problem with the water?
Earlier this summer—before the June flood—the Minnesota Department of Health found positive samples of E. coli bacteria in the well that serves the main campground at the park. At this time the water is unsafe for drinking, food preparation, brushing teeth, and other forms of consumption. Showers and bathroom sinks are closed but flush toilets are still available.
Campers and visitors should plan on bringing their own water. Visitors with RVs can fill their holding tanks at trailer dump stations in Pipestone or Luverne. Here is a map to these locations. Campers can fill up water tanks at those same locations for no charge, or you may obtain water from nearby Camden, Split Rock Creek, or Lake Shetek State Parks.
Please contact the park for further information at 507-283-6051.