Beaver Creek Park slammed by floods
The Hill County Park Board Monday heard about severe damage to Beaver Creek Park caused by flooding to a recreation area still reeling from flood damage last year.
Park Superintendent Chad Edgar said 4 inches of rain on top of the existing wet conditions and snow melting in the upper Bear's Paw Mountains led to the flooding, which resulted in flooding on lower Beaver Creek near Havre.
"It just devastated the park. It really was worst than last year," Edgar said, adding that it will take a long time to reopen some of the areas and at least one will not be open for the season.
"The campground that got hit the worst, once again, was our Firemans Campground. ... Firemans will not be open this year, for sure." he said.
The flooding, with more likely this week due to the heavy rains forecast for today and Wednesday, comes less than a year after flooding that led to a presidential disaster declaration in Hill County, including Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.
Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel are in the state conducting predisaster work to assess Gov. Brian Schweitzer's request that President Barack Obama again declare a federal disaster for the flooding in the state.
FEMA personnel met with Hill County and Havre officials this morning.
Edgar said several areas were heavily damaged in the park last weekend, including the road across the Rotary Pond site, which escaped serious damage last year.
Edgar said much of the damage last weekend is on top of damage caused by the flooding last year. While the county has received some funds from FEMA to repair the damage, and mitigate future damage, not all has been received and the work has not yet been completed.
One of those projects could have helped reduce damage to a major project on the park, the restoration of the chapel at Camp Kiwanis.
Edgar said that Friday water was in the chapel, which is in the midst of the restoration project.
"It's just sad, watching that building sit in water, after all the stuff we tried to do," he said.
The flooding damaged the floors of the chapel's porches, and the damage done inside is not yet known.
"Only time will tell," he said.
A mitigation project approved by FEMA last year was building up and reinforcing a road to create a barrier to water reaching the chapel. Edgar said the funding had not come to complete that project, although he was working to build the road up in preparation for this week's rain.
"If it floods again (Tuesday), we're better off than we were yesterday," he said.
Board member Robbie Lucke commended Edgar and his crews for the work they have done dealing with the flooding.
"Our park superintendent is just on it … ," Lucke said. "I was so proud to see the things that you (had done) out there, and the safety you had emphasized, that I just thought I should say that."