A major storm hit the upper St. Croix on July 1, causing damage to several area communities and a popular park along the river. Partly because trees were blown down across roads at St. Croix State Park, and partly because of the Minnesota government shutdown, exact reports of the damage have been slow to come in.
A new video confirms that the storm knocked down countless trees and damaged buildings at the park, possibly including some of the historic 1930s buildings — built by Great Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps workers — that earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
Check out the video from a recent drive through the park, uploaded by a user named wasawimann:
The Minneapolis Star Tribune printed a story last Friday that described some of the damage to the park. DNR Parks Director Courtland Nelson said the park’s landscape will be different for a long time:
Nelson said he hopes to get approval during the government shutdown to get some crews into the park with chainsaws and small equipment to begin clearing roads in case of an emergency in the park. Major cleanup won’t be done until lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton resolve their budget stalemate. Nelson hopes the park, a popular destination year-round, can be reopened by Labor Day weekend.
“Right now, it’s impossible to get in there on foot,” he said. “Once we start looking on the ground we’ll start seeing more damage. It’s going to be a big job.”
From the air, Nelson said, he could see that many of the park’s buildings, including cabins, restrooms and a visitor center, were damaged. “But no one is really sure yet how extensive. … We’re going to have to take into account the historic nature of these buildings to preserve and protect them.”
About 15 miles downstream and on the other side of the river, the town of Grantsburg was particularly hard-hit by the storm. The Burnett County Sentinel has an extensive webpage about damage and recovery efforts in the area.
- Exploring the river’s biggest park – Canoeing, camping and fly-fishing for bass on the river in Minnesota’s St. Croix State Park.