The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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August 3, 2012

Roaring River State Park damaged by storm early Friday morning

CASSVILLE, Mo. — Roaring River State Park sustained damage to trees, buildings  and campgrounds and lost power after a storm blew through early Friday morning.

Dusty Reid, park superintendent, who lives with his family at the park, said that around midnight he heard the storm “come out of nowhere.” He described it as a “high wind event” that came with no warning.

The National Weather Service reported numerous limbs and trees down along Missouri Highway 86 south of the park. Some were 14 inches in diameter. The report also noted that trees blocked roads in and around the intersection of Missouri Highway 112 and Route F in the park.

Reid said park campgrounds were about half full Thursday night, with approximately 85 campsites occupied out of 187. While there was minor damage done to vehicles, RVs, tents and canopies, there were no injuries, he said.

Many campers whose tents were damaged or destroyed sought shelter at the Emory Melton Inn and Conference Center in the park.

“Within minutes, the community, like it always does, showed great support,” Reid said. Responding to the storm were the Missouri Department of Conservation, which maintains a trout hatchery in the park; Cassville police and firefighters; the Eagle Rock Fire Department, the Missouri Highway Patrol, and more.

“Everybody was on site and helping our visitors,” said Reid.

“Because of the fact that it did continue to rain all night, most folks chose to just stay up there,” he said. “But they were in good spirits. While they were there, park staff removed debris from vehicles, tents and RVs so when the guests went back down they’d find their site accessible and could get to their personal belongings and pack up. It went very, very smooth — as smooth as it could.”

Four park buildings received minor damage, Reid said, including the fish cleaning station, the bathhouse and two cabins. Trees, including numerous mature sycamores, were down throughout the park, and four power lines were down.

Some campsites remained closed Friday, but Reid said he hopes to have them open within a few days.

Reid was in Joplin Wednesday with other volunteers from Roaring River and Prairie State Park to lend manpower to a bucket brigade tasked with saving replanted Joplin trees in the midst of the drought.

On Friday, it was his turn to be on the receiving end of help, as staff from Bennett Springs, Prairie, Pomme de Terre and Table Rock Lake state parks came to Roaring River to clear trees, limbs and other debris.

Craig Hull, director of Joplin Sports Authority, was surprised by the damage when he arrived with his 7-year-old son to fish in the park Friday morning, unaware that a storm had blown through.

“Several of the pools on the south end of Zone 1 were difficult to get to,” Hull said. “But many anglers were still trying to fish around debris and tree limbs.”

‘Always fishing’

“There are still a lot of fisherman out, and the fish have been biting,” said Dusty Reid, superintendent of Roaring River State Park. “It always amazes me: Flood, ice, windstorm, hail, they’re always fishing.”


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