High water will put boaters, park users in limbo

  • Article by: BILL MCAULIFFE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 26, 2013 - 1:40 AM

Some reservations will need to be changed at Fort Snelling State Park because of flooded trails caused by the rising Minnesota River.


Campers, paddlers and hikers might want to have a Plan B for the July 4th holiday with rising rivers causing closures and cautions across the region.

Heavy rains in the past week have swollen lakes and increased river flows from the Dakotas across Minnesota and into Wisconsin. Steve Buan, hydrologist with the North Central River Forecast Center and based in Chanhassen, noted that more than a foot of rain fell in the past five days over the area between La Crosse, Wis., and Dubuque, Iowa, with numerous single 5- to 6-inch rainfalls from the Red River Valley across central Minnesota.

At Fort Snelling State Park, trail flooding led officials to close the popular Pike Island on Tuesday and to begin shutting off water and removing portable toilets from Picnic Island. With the Minnesota River expected to rise 4 more feet by the weekend, it’s likely that the entrance road to the park will also be closed to vehicles, assistant manager Dave Felleson said. People will still be able to get into the park by walking or biking from the area around Historic Fort Snelling or from Minnehaha Park.

Felleson added that people with reservations for the Picnic Island shelters in the coming days will be asked to change dates or will be given a refund.

On the Mississippi River, the metro area’s three locks and dams, closed to recreational boat traffic due to heavy flows Monday, could reopen after the weekend. The St. Croix River at Stillwater has been a no-wake zone this season because of bridge construction — and will be for the next three summers — but the Minnesota DNR expects Wednesday to declare the river a no-wake zone from Hastings all the way to St. Croix Falls, Wis., boating law administrator Stan Linnell said.

The low-lying Lilydale area upstream from downtown St. Paul could also see some Mississippi River inundation, and some streets and bridges in the Jordan, Chaska and Shakopee areas of the southwest metro area might be threatened by the rising Minnesota, but no major commuter routes are expected to be affected.

The Red River and its tributaries in northwest Minnesota are also rising dramatically. A floating pedestrian bridge between Fargo and Moorhead was removed in recent days, but Fargo city engineer April Walker said there should be no major effect on roads or homes.

Erik Wrede, water trails coordinator for the DNR, said that rivers will be challenging for paddlers and boaters during the high water period and probably not suitable for beginners. He recommended that paddlers choose larger rivers that offer longer sightlines and are less likely to be blocked by trees. Boaters should also scout the parts of rivers they’ll be traveling.

And of course, Wrede and Linnell added, boaters should wear life jackets.


Bill McAuliffe • 612-673-7646

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
Denver 106
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
Edmonton 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 FINAL
Florida 66
Kentucky 72 FINAL
Georgia 64
West Virginia 69 FINAL
Kansas 76
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 78 FINAL
Northwestern 82
Villanova 76 FINAL
Creighton 72
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57


question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters