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Flooding Leaves State Parks Scummy And Underfunded

Kurt Beard

Indiana’s state parks resemble a bathtub that’s ringed with mildew. That’s how Department of Natural Resources officials describe the current state of park land.

DNR Deputy Director Mike Smith says in most parks, a ring of green sludge is all that remains from the heavy rains earlier this year.

Smith says the agency has had to cancel more than 4,000 reservations and has missed out on almost $700,000 of revenue it expected to generate.

Smith says most of that money was likely to come from in-state tourists.

“Probably half of our reservations that have been canceled have been Salamonie, which is up around Huntington, and Missisinewa. I’m guessing that the vast majority of that are Indiana Hoosiers,” Smith says.

Smith says all parks except Missisinewa have reopened, but most still need to be cleaned up. He’s hopeful DNR staff can do most of the job, but he says contractors may need to be hired – which would cost the agency even more. And he adds if there’s more substantial rainfall yet this year, many of the parks could flood a second time and have to be closed once more.

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