PARK PROJECT: Ledges Canyon To Reopen

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Two years after flooding destroyed one of central Iowa’s best state parks, the road blocks are finally coming down. Ledges State Park is scheduled to open just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

In the floods of 2010, the canyon in Ledges State Park was nearly demolished. Roads were washed out, and debris piled on bridges. Park Rangers and visitors said it was the worst flood they remembered- even worse than the floods of 1993. Just last year, many visitors say the damage was still visible and it was hardly recognized.

But a lot has changed since then.  Crews have been hard at work, taking advantage of the early spring and dry weather to clean up the park and make repairs.

“They’ve been working very hard. They’ve built a new bridge and they`re paving a parking lot over there right now and in the park itself there’s not much more to do,” said Dennis Ethington from Boone, a frequent visitor to the park.

Officials say the total cost for fixing up the area was close to $100,000. They say FEMA paid for most of it but the state also chipped in.

According to visitors, especially those with history at ledges, its money well spent.

“In high school we used to go hiking there and spend a lot of time without friends there, so it’s always been a great part of Boone county tradition,” said Twila Chambers, who now lives in Kansas City but grew up in Boone.

“I think it’s a huge thing, because I know a lot of people that used to come here but didn’t once it closed and now that it’s reopening. There are places that are remote and you can have picnics and I know a lot of people used to have picnics and stuff,” said Jenna Hoffman from Ankeny, “I think being able to do that again it will bring people to the park again.”

People have been able to walk through the canyon since the floods. The DNR is hopeful the canyon area will reopen to traffic Saturday morning.

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