DNR cleaning up flooded state park trails; metro area preps for high watersby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Residents and business owners in southeastern and south central Minnesota are cleaning up after flash floods -- and so are state parks and trails.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says that nine different state parks were or still are subject to flooding. A number of state trails were also covered by water and have to be cleared off of debris and mud.
DNR spokesman Kent Skaar said that the state hopes to have recreational facilities in the flooded areas ready to go for fall leaf looking and tourism.
"For the most part, the trails down there will all be open by the weekend, clean and ready to go," Skaar said.
Skaar said that exceptions are minor closings that were bridge failures. One is on the Douglas State Trail in Pine Island, and one on the Great River Ridge State Trail, near the community of Elgin.
Prospective visitors can check the DNR website for up-to-the-minute updates on the status of parks and trails.
Prepping for weekend waters
In the metro area, Metropolitan Airports Commission crews will start putting up the removable floodwall around Holman Field in downtown St. Paul today, in preparation for flooding expected this weekend.
MAC spokesman Patrick Hogan said that the $24 million dike project will be getting its second test of the year, after spring flooding threatened the airport. "It shows that it was a good investment and it's a good thing that we have the wall," Hogan said. "We are probably going to shut down the airport entirely to air traffic at some point this week, because the duration of this flood is going to be very short."
A number of aviation businesses and corporate aircraft operate out of the airport, as well as a National Guard helicopter base and the Minnesota State Patrol. There are an average of 300 take offs and landings there a day.
The airport has flooded repeatedly since 1997, prompting the airport commission to install the controversial dike. Opponents feared it would encourage more air traffic over St. Paul.