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Flooding can be seen Friday at Kandiyohi County Park 7 on Games Lake in northwestern Kandiyohi County. Four inches of rain fell there late Thursday and early Friday. All county parks have experienced problems because of heavy rains, but all are still open for camping and recreation, officials said. Submitted photo by Nikki Ilgen
Flooding can be seen Friday at Kandiyohi County Park 7 on Games Lake in northwestern Kandiyohi County. Four inches of rain fell there late Thursday and early Friday. All county parks have experienced problems because of heavy rains, but all are still open for camping and recreation, officials said. Submitted photo by Nikki Ilgen

Rains causing frustrations at Kandiyohi County parks in west central Minn.

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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR -- A wet summer has been getting in the way of work and play in Kandiyohi County.

High water and wet conditions have slowed some road and bridge projects as much as a lack of state inspectors has.

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County parks are still open for camping and recreation, but a series of heavy rains recently has led to a variety of frustrations for managers and campers.

After four inches of rain Thursday night and Friday morning, the park and campground at County Park 7 on Games Lake were swamped.

Shoreline erosion on Big Kandiyohi Lake is getting worse as water levels stay high.

An underpass allowing campers to get to the beach at County Park 3 on Diamond Lake is flooded.

County Administrator Larry Kleindl said at Tuesday's County Board meeting that he drove around the county to look at all the parks after reports of damage last weekend.

"The campgrounds are still open, and the campsites are still workable," he said. "The park managers just have to be creative."

At County Park 1 on the west side of Big Kandiyohi Lake, manager Bud Groen said there's just been too much rain this summer.

"We've lost lots of shoreline," he said. "Even our retaining wall is going."

It hasn't affected camping, because the sites are on a hill, he said. The swimming beach has been eroded, though.

"The lake is very high," he said, and it is staying high, which causes more erosion damage.

Campers have been understanding about the situation, Groen said.

It's part of camping, he added. "You can't have perfect weather every day."

At County Park 7, "In some areas, we just kinda laugh and say we're charging more for the lake view spot," said manager Rita Olson.

"We've had good campers," she said. "People have been very patient."

Visitors haven't left or canceled their plans at the park because of the soggy conditions, she said. It has helped that the park has paved pads for campers, she added.

Drains couldn't take the rain away fast enough Friday, and water was knee deep in some lower parts of the park. The county provided a pump to take the levels down while arriving campers were asked to wait in the parking lot, Olson said.

Water surging out of a culvert cut a small trough through the beach and washed the sand into the lake at Park 7. Kleindl said maintenance work was already planned for the park next year, and some tile work may be added.

County Public Works Director Gary Danielson also told the board that high water levels and the state shutdown have delayed work on several projects in the county.

Work on townships bridges near Lake Andrew and Lake Elizabeth have not started because of delays with Department of Natural Resources permits. Regardless, "the weather has made it impossible to work on them," he said.

A grading project east of Eagle Lake has been delayed because no state inspector is available to certify the pipe to be used.

Work continues on County Road 26. County Road 7 work is delayed because the ditches are not drying up.

"With all the rain, I'm not sure the bridges will get done (this year)," he said.

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I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

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