Ozark Riverways Provides Update On Flood Recovery

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Date: January 22, 2016
Contact: Dena Matteson, 573-323-8028

VAN BUREN, MO:Following the heavy rains that fell across the region in late December, many facilities, roads, trails, and river accesses at Ozark National Scenic Riverways were impacted by severe flooding.Since that time the park staff has been working tirelessly to assess damage and clean or repair facilities, structures, and roadways throughout the park.

Continuing recovery efforts are ongoing, with high priority visitor use areas and facilities receiving immediate attention.Over 33 restrooms were filled with water and mud.Many of those have been cleaned and opened, or re-winterized.Several river access areas lost portions of riverbank, and many roads and trails still need repairs and grading.Large deposits of gravel and debris remain throughout the park.While many camping areas and access points have been re-opened, amenities in several areas remain limited because of damage or displacement caused by flood water.Work has been impeded slightly by the recent winter weather.

There are several sites within the park that sustained moderate damage.The restroom facility at the Two Rivers boat landing lost the roof and a portion of the walls.The road surface into Panther Springs was severely damaged, making the area inaccessible.Approximately 200 yards of the trail from Powder Mill to Blue Spring on the Current River is covered with river debris.The Burr Oak picnic area near Alley Spring was heavily impacted by gravel and sand deposited across the landscape.Recovery at these sites is expected to take additional time.

The Big Spring Bridge was inspected by Federal Highway Administration (FHA) engineers on January 11 and was re-opened following their determination that it is safe for vehicle travel.The bridge had been temporarily closed after sustaining damage to the pedestrian walkway and guard rail during the flood.The FHA engineers determined the damage would not have an impact on vehicle safety.

A team of National Park Service facility management specialists recently spent several days conducting condition assessments of park roads, trails, facilities, utility systems, and landscapes in order to survey the damage and assist park staff with preparing cost estimates for repairs.Current estimates of damage parkwide total nearly $1 million, but additional assessment is ongoing. The team was unable to thoroughly assess the park's hiking and horse trails, so damage estimates will be conducted when those areas are accessible.Estimates may also fluctuate depending on final decisions for repair or replacement of damaged facilities and equipment.Thus far, nearly $40,000 has been expended on the flood recovery effort.

According to Superintendent Larry Johnson, "We will continue to work diligently to restore facilities and services that have been impacted by the flood, and will explore options for funding to help defray these costs.Staff and visitor safety will remain a top priority as we move forward.I am extremely proud of the efforts of our Ozark Riverways staff and ask for continued patience from the public while we continue with what is sure to be a long term recovery process."

For a current listing of the status of park facilities, please refer to the park website at https://www.nps.gov/ozar/planyourvisit/levels.htm.For more information, call (573) 323-4236 during business hours Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;visit the park's Facebook page, or website at www.nps.gov/ozar.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.


Last updated: February 5, 2016

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P.O. Box 490
Van Buren, MO 63965


(573) 323-4236

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