Eminence, Missouri- Park staff at Ozark National Scenic Riverways have cleared hundreds of trees from park roads and opened pathways for people to travel in the Shannon, Dent, and Texas counties.
At approximately 9:00 AM on Friday, May 8, 2009, the area was struck by a severe storm, with winds gusting 70 to 90 mph, and driving rain which tore down thousands of trees throughout the park. By 9:15 AM, park staff were out clearing roads, using chainsaws and whatever heavy equipment was needed to ensure the safety of the park staff and visitors.
Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the local counties, the park staff cleared emergency lanes on state highways, county highways, and park roads, in order to gain access into the park areas. All major park points on the river were accessed by Saturday evening, which was the end of the second day of searching. The park staff worked in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Missouri Department of Transportation, and the local road authorities. The park also assisted the community of Eminence, which had major damage and no power, by using NPS generators to keep their Sheriff’s Office and Dispatch Center open, and their radio repeaters working while the county generator was repaired and power lines replaced.
There were no immediate injuries but multiple park visitors and local residents needed to be located and rescued. Due to the amount of area to be searched and roads cleared of downed trees, the park operated under the Incident Command System (ICS) with the Chief Ranger serving as Incident Commander. All park visitors and local residents have been contacted and evacuated but there will be weeks of park wide clean-up of the downed trees and power lines.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding natural resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people. For more information visit, www.nps.gov/ozar
Ozark National Scenic Riverways*PO Box 490*Van Buren, MO 63965
573-323-4844* fax 573-323-4140*main office -573-323-4236
Park Recovers From Major Storm