SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — What a difference just a couple of months can make when it comes to water levels in KELOLAND. Back in April, the falls at Falls Park were a roaring spectacle for visitors to behold. But today, the flow has been cut way back by our dry spring.
Falls Park was super-charged by the spring snowmelt in March and April. But the strong current has since run its course. Visitors can now walk the rocky shoreline that was underwater just a few weeks ago.
“I wish we had something like this in Ohio, where you can just actually sit and relax at a park,” Milly Beasley of Mansfield, Ohio, said.
Beasley last visited the Falls a decade ago.
“The water flew a lot better and it was a lot cleaner, but other than that, I mean, it’s still a beautiful park,” Beasley said.
And park visitors are discovering the beauty of the rock outcroppings exposed by the low-flowing falls.
“I’m very infatuated with waterfalls; I think it’s beautiful. I like to be able to see the rock formations when the water’s flowing and the sound it makes,” Robin Williams of Butler, Ohio, said.
“Perfect world, we want it rushing, absolutely and we want people standing on the bridge and all around going, ‘Wow! Look at that,'” Experience Sioux Falls CEO Teri Schmidt said.
Even though visitation is down somewhat for the year, Schmidt expects those numbers to rise, regardless of how strong, or how weak, the current is.
“Additionally, we have more bus tours coming into Sioux Falls this summer than we’ve ever had before. So, that’s going to take up the numbers as well,” Schmidt said.
The roar of the river may be muted by the dry spell, but visitors to Falls park can still gush over the summer scenery.
“I think it’s beautiful the way it is,” Williams said.
According to Experience Sioux Falls, year-to-date numbers at Falls Park total 33,272. That’s down about 1,000 from a year ago. Visitation for the month of June, so far, is 6,834, which is about even with last year.