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September 01, 2014 06:07 PM

Low Attendance At Blue Mounds State Park

Luverne, MN

Severe weather this summer caused problems for nearby state parks. 

Flooding this past June left Blue Mounds State Park in Minnesota looking pretty sparse. While it had to be shut down after a dam broke in the area, the park is up and running again for the Labor Day weekend.

Earlier this summer, Blue Mounds State Park was looking pretty empty … And today is about the same story.

"We had 45 campers in our campground with 73 sites. So we're down about half. Usually on a normal Labor Day we would be full," Assistant Park Manager Thomas Sawtelle said. 

There are a few different reasons for the lower than usual attendance. One is the lack of a lake, which is usually a big draw for the park.

"It's basically grown in with weeds. There's no lake anymore," Sawtelle said. 

A dam that broke in June caused the man-made lake to drain. There is no word from the Minnesota Park's Department on when, or if, this will be fixed.

That's not the only water-related issue the park is seeing this summer. A contaminated well is forcing campers to "rough it" more than usual.

"Water restrictions in the showers, and the sinks are off in the bathrooms and the faucets because of the E. Coli bacteria that is in our well. That's going to be ramified this Fall when we dig a new well," Sawtelle said. 

Other repairs have been made to roads, trails and 200 feet of bison fence that were destroyed in the June storms.

With most of the recreational areas fixed, there's plenty to do at Blue Mounds.

"We still expect to have quite a few hikers and bikers and climbers this fall yet. And we'll get some campers still. Next year, hopefully with the water back on, we'll be back up to normal," said Sawtelle.

Despite all the setbacks this year, Sawtelle says the season is still ending on a positive note for the park's staff.

"It's been a little disappointing with the lack of customers in the campground and so our revenues will be down this summer. But overall, we're happy where we're at right now," said Sawtelle.

Because of the water restrictions, campers did receive the Rustic Camping rates, which is $4 off the normal price.

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