High waters keep Summers County campers at bay

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HINTON, WV (WVNS) — High water levels interrupt what would be prime camping season in Summers County.

Campgrounds in the Bluestone Wildlife Management area remain closed as of June 2, 2020, after recent high waters overtook these lakefront campsites.

Summers County Commission President Jack Woodrum oversees the campgrounds.

“Over the last two weeks, we’ve had two major floods,” said Woodrum. “The lake has been at very high levels, the highest levels we’ve seen in recent years. Bertha has been under 30 plus feet of water.”

The Bluestone Lake reached 50 feet above summer pool last week, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Woodrum said the water level caused significant flood damage to the Bertha campground, as crews are still working to clean up debris.

“We had a large number of trees fallen too, where the ground has been wet,” said Woodrum. “We had a lot of dead ash trees. We’ve had to clean the road into every campground because they have been covered with trees going in and out.”

Woodrum said the New River above the lake is still running high and the Indian Creek campground is still mostly underwater. Due to the flooding, he said Memorial Day weekend was a wash. Just as restrictions were lifted, the commission was forced to keep the areas closed instead of reopening — an added blow to the local economy.

“Where our parks were shutdown, all the people that normally come in to the community — that just stopped,” Woodrum said. “We had several businesses here that suffered because they had to be closed, because we just didn’t have the tourists coming in.”

Woodrum said if weather cooperates, some campgrounds should be open next weekend.

The Bluestone Lake Army Corps of engineers estimates a return to summer pool Wednesday morning. They anticipate the boat ramps being back open around midday on Wednesday after crews have an opportunity to clean and inspect for safety.

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