Cleanup begins at Louisville State Recreation Area following flooding

LOUISVILLE, Neb. (KOLN) -- Normally, Louisville State Recreation Area has five lakes. Following last months flooding, park officials said it looked like it only had two. Now, the community has come out to help with the cleanup of one of Nebraska's most popular state parks.

State park officials told 1011 that this time of year is normally busy getting ready for campers, but the flooding has only exacerbated the problem.

"A majority of the park was underwater. The water did recede and left some scars," said Jim Swenson, Chief of State Parks at Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. "And what you see going on here today with the volunteers to help make those scars go away now is a tremendous testament to the support we receive from our public."

Saturday, people from the community of Louisville and as far as Columbus came to LSRA to repaint and repair picnic tables and tear down drywall. Many of the nearly 300 picnic tables floated away when the Platte River's waters ran into the campgrounds.

"Lot of picnic tables that just sort of floated away, and all over the park," said Matt Sutton, the Park Superintendent 3 of LSRA. "We were able to pull a lot of them back out of the treelines, out of the lakes."

But the problem extended to more than just picnic tables. Sutton said 70-80 percent of the park was underwater, also reaching the main office. Floodwater ruined electrical pedestals that power RVs and ruined drywall in the main office.

People from the area said it was devastating to hear that their favorite camps were underwater but exciting to hear that they could help clean up.

"It was kind of devastating, because then they thought, we can't go swimming this year, it's going to be closed for a whole year, maybe indefinitely," said Tasha Lueder, of Louisville. Added her daughter Addison, "I was really excited to come and help and help it open sooner than planned."

Park officials said this campground should be ready to the public by May 1st. Not all problems (like regrowing grass) will be solved by then, but by-and-large, the campground is ready for visitors.

Aside from showing up at a cleanup day to help, Nebraska Game and Parks is also accepting donations for clean up. To learn more, follow this link.