Summer time is a key season for visitors to Minnesota state parks, but record rainfall in June forced two of the popular public parks to close. Now they are reopening, but visitors can expect to see a few changes related to the high water.
The Department of Natural Resources says Fort Snelling State Park is reopening Wednesday after a three-week shutdown. That includes the Thomas Savage Visitor Center and the Snelling Lake beach area, fishing pier and the trail around Snelling Lake.
Picnic Island will remain closed until downed trees and silt deposits can be removed.
The DNR assures visitors that the park's beach has been groomed and the water there has been tested and deemed safe. Picnic tables and play equipment that were underwater have been washed with a disinfectant.
Meanwhile, Forum News Service reports that Blue Mounds State Park in Luverne reopened Monday to visitors, who will notice an altered landscape as a result of the torrential June rainfall. When Mound Creek flooded, it compromised a 1930s-era dam that emptied the man-made recreational lake inside the park. The lake, which had been used for swimming and fishing, now appears to be a shallow stream. DNR officials expect it to remain that way for several years.
Fences have been put up to keep park visitors safe around shoreline drop-offs (pictured) and new gullies that were created by high water levels and fast-moving currents.
The water system inside the park is still deemed unusable after E. coli bacteria was found in late May, so campers who plan to visit the park are asked to bring in their own water for consumption and showering.
KDLT in Sioux Falls, South Dakota reports nearly 11 inches of rain fell on the park in early June.
The bison herd of more than 100 that lives at the park was not affected by the flooding.