River Flooding Halts Canoe Rentals Costing Businesses;Rafts Only on River
Heavy rain is bad for business when your business is fun on the river. Flooding in McDonald County takes a toll on those who were banking on campers and floaters during the holiday weekend.
Floodwater covered a campsite and a car Monday at Shady Beach in Noel. Other campers said they moved spots three times to avoid the rising river Sunday.
Jordan Shore from Harrisonville, Missouri said, “It was only scary when we went to sleep because we didn’t know how far it would rise again.”
Other campers didn’t risk it and left the campground before the Fourth of July holiday.
Shore said, “This place used to be really packed and crowded but they all packed up and left Sunday.”
Jordan’s family floated Saturday as did some other visitors but Shady Beach and most other canoe rentals decided against putting people on the water Sunday costing them.
Leon Adams with Shady Beach said, “We knew the water was gonna come up and it would be unsafe. By the time people got to low water bridge, they couldn’t get under it so we chose not to float. It’s a real bust for business. I don’t know how many thousands of dollars it cost us but it’s been several.”
Adams says a check early on the 4th of July indicated only a foot and half clearance at the bridge but a four foot clearance is needed for safety so he’s canceled dozens of canoe and kayak rentals.
Adams said, “They get too close to trees, get sucked under trees, canoes turnover and they lose all their stuff. And if somebody gets stuck under a canoe, he loses his life. It’s just that water has tremendous power.”
A slightly different story on the fourth at Elk River floats where they put rafts on the river.
Worker Jake Milleson said, “We’re just putting out rafts. And the rafts, they won’t go under as easy. They’re not really prone to flip cause the rafts are really very stable.” Unlike canoes and kayaks.
Shady beach gives rain checks and the owner’s confident floaters will come back. And some of his visitors are happy the campground was cautious and wouldn’t have floated in the high water anyway.
Bill Presson a regular Shady Beach visitor said those who try to float, “Have no concept of what’s in that water when it comes up, goes down and all the trash that floats in it. The snags that you can get. There’s lots of trees on the bank you can’t see right now.”
And Leon added, “Who wants to see somebody drown. That’s our main concern is somebody getting hurt.”
The Cave Bar and Grill in Lanagan was also forced to close Sunday because of flooding. Its bar in the cave sits in front of the aquifer and once it’s full it floods. Owners had to cancel several group reservations costing the business thousands. It reopened today at noon after about eight hours of cleanup.
These same businesses lost some revenues when highway 59 was closed for repairs forcing visitors to take long detours to find them. The highway reopened in June.