Mary Kaufmann longs for the high Mississippi River water that disrupted operations at Goose Island Campground south of La Crosse during the Memorial Day weekend.
“I’d take the water we had over Memorial Day compared to this,” said Kaufmann, La Crosse County parks supervisor, lamenting that half of the campground’s 300 sites are not usable.
“It’s wet, with definitely flooded areas, but we’re still open,” she said, although the sites that aren’t drenched are booked for the Fourth of July weekend.
Pettibone campground in La Crosse isn’t faring as well, having been closed for nearly two weeks, and it’s likely to remain so for another two weeks, manager Zeb Allert said.
“We’ve lost two of the four holidays,” Allert said, referring to Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day and Oktoberfest.
Parts of Pettibone begin flooding when the Mississippi River tops 10 feet, and it is inundated at the 12-foot flood stage. The river passed that last week as the season’s unusual third wave of crests Tuesday pushed it to 13.5 feet, according to the National Weather Services.
It is expected to remain at 13.5 feet until Thursday morning but remain above flood stage well into next week, according to the NWS.
Allert declined to estimate how much money Pettibone might lose by being closed now, other than to say, “We’ve got 150-ish sites canceled, at $39 a night.”
Workers will try to rake and restore the campground as the water recedes, he said.
Even though part of Goose Island is open, Kaufmann said, “We get excited for the holidays, and we’re disappointed. Campers are fun.”
Several miles to the south, Blackhawk Park near De Soto remains closed, halting camping at both the Vernon County and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites in the park.
“We’ve lost two of the four holidays.” Zeb Allert, Pettibone campground manager