ST. PAUL — Fort Snelling State Park officially reopened Tuesday, Sept. 17, after being closed for 176 days due to the impact of spring flooding.
Mother Nature determined the timing of the cleanup, which didn’t fully get underway until June.
“We needed the water level to drop to a certain level before that work could be done,” said Fort Snelling State Park assistant supervisor Nick Bartels at a media briefing Tuesday at the park, located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers in the Twin Cities.
Snowmelt from last winter caused flooding in March that damaged the park’s main roads, facilities and water supply lines; it also downed trees and washed out hiking trails throughout the park. The park closed March 25.
While the park was opened as quickly as possible, cleanup and repairs continue.
“Typically from early April until mid-September, we see over 400,000 visitors,” Bartels said. “It’s safe to say, with how nice things were this summer, unfortunately we probably displaced up to 500,000 people that would have been here enjoying the park.”
That translates into about $230,00 in lost revenue, Bartels estimated. In addition, the total bill for flood recovery was more than $200,000.