State park back in tip-top shape

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Roaring River State Park is back in tip-top shape just in time for annual fall Kids' Fishing Day, which will be held in the park this Saturday.

"The park and campgrounds have been cleaned up and look great," said Dusty Reid, park superintendent. "Park staff is excited to have opened all three campgrounds within six days of the storm, and we are already gearing up for our next big special event.

"This weekend is the back-to-school Kids' Fishing Day, which is a wonderful event for families to come down and participate in," Reid continued. "There will be multiple opportunities for the kids to learn a new skill at one of the numerous outdoor education programs."

On Aug. 2, a severe storm tore through Roaring River bringing down trees and large limbs, littering the campgrounds and causing minor damage to several buildings in the park. During the first six days after the storm, 74 individuals worked around 2,335 clean-up hours.

"The majority of the work involved cutting up and hauling off downed trees and limbs throughout the park," said Reid. "Once we got the logs and debris removed from the public use areas, we raked the areas and, in some cases, cleaned the areas off with large leaf blowers to really make the areas look nice."

Crews have also already made some of the building repairs. The remainder of the building repairs, which will not impact the public, will be completed after the free kids fishing event.

"Each campsite was inspected by multiple crews over the last few days," said Reid. "We had our risk management people come down from Jefferson City, and we also had park staff and the Missouri State Park Aerial Device Crew in the park looking for any potentially hazardous limbs up in the trees."

In addition to the Roaring River State Park crew, staff members from 16 state parks and four Missouri Department of Conservation staff members provided support during the clean-up effort. Other assistance was provided by the Missouri State Parks central and district offices and district construction crew.

Logs and other debris collected during the clean-up will be stored in a park storage facility, which is designed to house brush and creek gravel after storm events.

"We will look for future use for the brush that was hauled to the storage facility," said Reid. "Some of the logs will be cut up into firewood and used to heat buildings in the park, and some of the brush will be chipped up and used as mulch in the fish compost process.

"We are always needing wood chips to put over the trout waste that comes from our fish cleaning station," added Reid.

Around 250 small trees are planted in Roaring River State Park each year.

"This is to ensure there is a constant supply of younger trees spread out in the campgrounds ready to take the place of the more mature trees when they succumb to wind, bugs or disease," said Reid. "There is not a plan in place at this point to purchase larger trees to place in the campgrounds, but it is something that will be looked at this fall when the timing for transplanting trees is better."

With most of the repairs and clean-up completed, Roaring River State Park staff members are hopeful that visitors will return to the park to camp, fish and enjoy the outdoors.

"Looking beyond this weekend, fall is just around the corner and the temperatures will start dropping," said Reid. "Fall is always a great time to be camping, and we have a lot of special events planned this fall, including our WOW, National Outdoor Recreation and Conservation School."

For more information on upcoming events, call the Roaring River Park office at 847-2539 or the park nature center at 847-3742.

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