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June 16, 2014 04:55 PM

Luverne Dam Breaks, Drains Popular Lake

Luverne, MN

The damage at first glance is breathtaking. Rushing water washed away a dam in Blue Mounds State Park.

"About 1:00 in the morning on Sunday, I was on site. The road opened up and I came down to inspect the lake and found the dam had broken and water was pouring through it," park manager Chris Ingebretsen said.

Luckily, the rains didn't force any of the campers out of the park, but what's left is hard for visitors to see. The man-made lake is now a puddle, forcing fish to struggle upstream for a new home. As of right now, there isn't much park rangers can do to bring things back to normal.

"We really haven't determined whether a repair is optional yet. So, mostly what we've been doing is public safety, making sure people are staying out of the collapsed area. That's what we can do at this point," Ingebretsen said.

Amber Jacobsma came to the park to see the damage for herself. Every year she brings her kids to the beach that is now blocked off.

"We usually come here during the summer to sit and swim. Great area, nice little beachy spot for them to make sand castles. Run in and cool off," Jacobsma said.

What once was a beautiful vacation spot is now nothing but ruin. People who have come here for years are saddened at the sight of this once promising lake.

"It's shocking. We heard that the dam broke, so you kind of assume water is going to flow. I guess you don't really realize how bad it is until you see it in person. It's sad," Jacobsma said

Minnesota DNR officials from New Ulm were at the park Monday assessing the damage. Right now, the future of Blue Mounds Lake doesn't look great. Depending on the cost of the dam repairs, the lake may never return to what it once was.

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