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Campground Faced With Major Recovery Effort

July 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

When the water rose suddenly at the Roughrider Campground west of Minot, N.D., and campers hastily drove through water to dry ground, city residents knew it wouldn’t be long before they’d be experiencing too much water as well. Most of the floodwater has receded at the campground, leaving extensive damage behind, the Minot Daily News reported.

“Right now we have full intentions of rebuilding,” said Lonnie Balweg, co-owner of the campground with wife, Danielle. “We’re working with SBA and FEMA to get some aid to recover.”

A full-service campground is much more than just shade trees and a quiet setting. While the trees may survive and setting remains the same, there’s plenty of work to be done before the Roughrider Campground can open again. All 100 pedestals that supply electricity to campsites must be rewired, if an electrician can find time to do the work. Four septic systems and three pump stations at the campground also are in need of repair.

Knowing the camping space, particularly long-term, is at a premium right now is somewhat disconcerting for Balweg but there’s little that can be done immediately.

“I would love to be able to open up the park but the state has to give me the go-ahead,” said Balweg. “It doesn’t do any good to be without power, water or anything. It’s very frustrating for Danielle and I to not be in a position to help the local community.”

Balweg says it is very realistic that the Roughrider Campground will be ready for business in 2012. It’ll have a new look too, or at least some building projects will be under way.

“I hope that we’re going to improve the park,” said Balweg. “What happened here was a lot more than expected. There wasn’t really a lot we could do here.”

Balweg did some early diking, which saved a portion of the campground for a time. Eventually though, the Souris River became far too much to handle.

Today, picnic tables remain strewn about the area, some of them still sitting in water or lodged against trees near the bank of the Souris. The main office building, a portion of which was recently remodeled, had water up the countertops and may not be salvageable. A pavilion, shop, storage area, garage, shower house and the Balweg’s home were all hit hard by flood waters.

“We’re going to work on rebuilding the shower house and probably add a new building for the office with maybe living quarters,” said Balweg.

Like many other flood recovery projects in the area, it will take a considerable amount of time and manpower to get the job done. Balweg estimates it will take up to two years before all the damage at Roughrider is repaired.

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