Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Buffalo River Conditions -- 5/3/11 Update

Update 5/4/11 PM  Lost Valley will be re-opened before bridge repairs are completed. Visitors will be allowed to wade across Clark Creek.

Update 5/4/11   Steel Creek campground is now open.

April turned out to be a very tough month weather-wise. Toward the end of the month we got into an amazing wet weather pattern that sent the Buffalo National River into flood stage 3 or 4 times, depending on how you look at it.

We received 14.7 inches of rain in April, mostly at the end of the month, and 2.7 inches of rain the first two days of May. 17.4 inches of rain has saturated the ground. River levels remain high as this is written but are returning to excellent floating conditions by tomorrow.

Waterfall fans will want to visit, but check first on what destinations are still open. Lost Valley is not open. If you go to back country locations, 4wd is probably essential.

There has been significant damage to the Buffalo National River. Lost Valley campground is closed. At this time there is no target date to get them back on line, but they are the top priorities.

There will be more to report in a few days. With the ground saturated it is impossible to accurately predict when work can begin. The good news is that there is no significant rain in the forecast.

The Buffalo River will return to excellent floating levels for everyone in a day or so. The cold weather appears to be ending as well and this coming weekend promises to be nice weather in the upper 70's.

The park will have a report on the plan for repairs later this week. At that time I will write a more in-depth report on the plans to restore the park to full function.

I encourage everyone to visit the Buffalo River Chamber of Commerce website for up-to-date information on river levels and floating conditions. Call any of the outfitters and learn first hand about conditions. As this is written, Tuesday May 3rd, the Ponca Gauge shows the river returning to normal floating conditions probably within the hour.  http://buffaloriverchamber.com for up-to-date information.

More information coming in the next few days.

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