The derecho that hit a large portion of Iowa on Monday, August 10 left several state parks in Iowa with significant damage, forcing some closures due to unsafe conditions.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Iowa DNR) says, as staff continue to work diligently to assess the damage left behind by Monday’s storms, some parks are closed “indefinitely” while others have partial closures or areas the public should avoid.
With most of the damage being downed trees and tree limbs caused by significant winds, the Iowa DNR says visitors should use “extreme caution” when visiting any parks that remain open, adding that the safety of any visitors at the state parks is their “top priority.”
The Iowa DNR strongly encourages park visitors to avoid areas with debris, as well as park staff that are busy assessing and removing the debris.
If visitors notice damage on trails or other areas that have not been blocked off, the Iowa DNR says to “please alert park staff.”
Anyone with reservations affected by these closures will be directly contacted by the Iowa DNR to issue refunds.
The following are state parks in the Local 4 News viewing area experiencing partial and complete closures until further notice:
Maquoketa Caves State Park (Maquoketa)
- Caves closed – All caves are currently closed to public access.
- Parking update – Parking in the park is limited to designated parking spots only and will be enforced. Peak park visitation times are weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to explore the park weekdays or during non-peak hours in the morning or late afternoons on weekends.
- 2020 camping reservations – All campsites except campsite #1 are reservable (100%) on the centralized reservation system. The last day to make a camping reservation is one day prior to arrival.
Fairport State Recreation Area (Muscatine)
- Due to recent storm damage, the west dock will remain out of water until repairs can be made. If you have any questions, please call the park office at 563-263-4337.
Wildcat Den State Park (Muscatine)
- Pine Creek Grist Mill and Melpine School remain closed. Due to recent storms across the state, some trails at Wildcat Den may be inaccessible at this time. Park visitors may still access the trail system, but large limbs and downed trees should be expected. Please use caution when hiking around downed trees or hanging limbs, as they may become unstable.
Geode State Park (Danville)
- Geode Lake is drained for renovation. No boating, fishing or swimming is possible at this time. Walking on the lake bottom is permitted, but caution is advised due to the possibility of getting stuck in the lake bottom mud.
A complete list of partial and complete Iowa state park closures and alerts is here.