For many, Memorial Day weekend is the start of the summer camping season. For a state park in Minnesota, the season is starting off poorly.
There's E. coli bacteria in the water at Blue Mounds State Park just north of Luverne.
Just a week away from Memorial Day, Blue Mounds State Park has some bad news.
"The Department of Health came down and found that we had E. coli bacteria in the water of the well here at the office and in the campground," Assistant Park Manager Thomas Sawtelle said.
Peggy and Roger Ryden were planning on staying at the state park for four days on their trip to Devils Tower in Wyoming. When they received the news about the E. coli, they considered changing their travel plans.
"It's a serious issue to have," Peggy Ryden said.
After discussing it, the couple, who have been camping for 30 years, decided to come to the park anyway, but they came prepared.
"We have some of our water to be able to do dishes safely and then picked up a solar shower to be able to wash our hair and face," Ryden said.
The shower is a pressurized bag that the Rydens hang from a tree. With all the campgrounds they have visited, the couple knows how to deal with any situation.
"It's not unusual. When we were at Death Valley, you couldn't drink the water either when we were there. So again you get used to that; you have to be prepared other than that you're going to not have the conveniences that you're used to," Ryden said.
The park is providing water for campers to use. The Rydens say park officials offered to let them cancel their reservation without having to pay a fee. Overall, they are happy with how the park is handling the situation.
"I think they did a really good job of communication and wasn't expecting free water. I thought we would have to buy for 50-cents or something but that was nice; I think they did a good job," Ryden said.
E. Coli in water is usually linked to animal waste runoff. The park is regularly checking the water supply to find out the earliest time campers can start using the water again.
If you have any questions you can visit the park's website.