Palisades Kepler State Park likely closed for the rest of the year, hoping to reopen Spring 2021

Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 6:26 PM CDT
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MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (KCRG) - Throughout eastern Iowa, there has been extensive cleanup in homes and yards, but it is also time to assess what the derecho did to the state parks in Eastern Iowa.

As a result of that devastating set of storms, staff with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said they are closing down some parks for months.

At Palisades Kepler State Park in Mount Vernon, those who try to get in will be welcomed with “Road Closed” signs. The park is closed for now and a state park ranger with the DNR said that it will likely stay closed for the rest of the year.

Take a ride along some of the roads in the park, the reason why became clear. While some of the paths might get cleared, there are still a number of branches hanging from trees, or entire trees hanging over, too.

Jim Hansen, a state park ranger for the Iowa DNR, explained that as much as they would like to re-open, especially for the upcoming fall foliage season, they need to stay cautious and focus on safety.

“We get a lot of people at Palisades, so we just know that it’s an unsafe situation for people to be in right now and moving forward, it’s not going to be a quick process to make it safe,” Hansen said. “So we just had to close it down.”

Hansen said on the bright side, they are starting to bring in some experts as soon as Wednesday to assess what needs to be done. He believes if all goes well, he could potentially see the park re-opening in Spring 2021.

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