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Storm damage cleanup continues at Lopez Lake

Posted at 9:05 PM, Jan 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-24 02:49:24-05

Storm cleanup continues at Lopez Lake which was hit hard by flooding.

Damage includes a large oak tree that fell right on top of picnic tables at one campsite.

Crews are busy clearing mud and debris from roads and campgrounds, but a lot of work still needs to be done.

Campgrounds at Lopez Lake are still closed more than two weeks after January ninth’s destructive storm.

“It’s kind of messed up but it’s getting cleaned up,” said Jason Ross who works at the marina.

The supervising park ranger at Lopez Lake says steep mountainsides sent flood water and debris tearing across roads and through campgrounds.

“We’re in a steep canyon area so at that point, we had water running all over the place where it normally doesn’t,” said Supervising Ranger Brian Wilder.

a deluge of storm runoff and clogged culverts sent stormwater directly into these campsites… which are still covered in mud.

County parks crews are using heavy equipment to clear out giant mounds of debris.

“But the main issue is the landslides, we had two major ones,” adds Wilder.

One landslide was blocking part of Parkhill Road last week, but the area is now clear.

Near the main entrance, a hillside gave way at two separate locations-- sending mud cascading downhill.

Storm runoff also sent logs and even parts of a dock into the lake.

Lopez Lake Recreation Area is set to reopen for day use on Tuesday… but a five-mile-per-hour speed limit will be in place for boats out on the water.

Marina staff are looking forward to reopening as the lake fills up.

Campgrounds, however, will take much longer to reopen.

Aside from clearing debris, the county needs to bring a wastewater treatment plant back online before camping resumes at Lopez Lake.

The county parks service hopes to reopen campgrounds by mid-February and will evaluate the situation each week.

The campground closures affected about 50 reservations.

The county parks service is offering refunds or a change to the reservation date.