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Tourism Numbers Rebound For River Businesses

October 11, 2012, 5:52 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Tourism Numbers Rebound For River Businesses
OACOMA, SD -

From record flooding to a dust-raising drought, South Dakota's weather has gone through wild swings in the last year.  Those swings are paralleled by the swing some businesses have experienced along the river.

This year's beauty of the Missouri River is a stark contrast from last year's rage.  The picturesque view in the Chamberlain area is catching the attention of those who pass through the area.

"The difference between where I live in England is the wilderness. There's not much wilderness. Here there are millions of square miles of wilderness and that's nice to get away from it all and relax," Rom Naplocha said.

Naplocha is on a cross-country trip similar to the drive he took last year. He can't believe how much the river and our weather have changed in the last year.

"We don't have quite the extremes. Occasionally we get bad weather, but I think the predominate weather we get is rain in England," Naplocha said.

But he's not the only person that's been drawn back to the river.  Ask businesses along the Missouri and they'll tell you their numbers are as pleasant as the river on a calm day.

"What's been so significant this year is the number of out of state plates have really grown.  We've had a really great year and I know tourism has to be up because we've seen the increases," Cedar Shore Resort general manager Ron Madison said.

Madison says last year was tough. The flooding kept people and their tourism dollars away. This year's calmer conditions brought them back and with a nice fall, business has remained steady now well into October.

"The year before, I think people were just scared of what was going on.  This year, you've had a year where you didn't get to come so now you're eager to get on the river and it's just been a beautiful year to be out on the river," Madison said.

And Madison says he expects business to remain strong until the cold of winter forces boats out of the marina.  He's hoping for more of the same next year.

"I sure hope that last year was an abnormal year and we don't see a year like that again for a long, long time," Madison said.

Even when the weather cools, the Chamberlain area is expected to remain a destination for out-of-state visitors. "Pheasants Forever" ranked Chamberlain as the top pheasant hunting town in America.

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