BROKEN BOW, OK (KSLA) - Beavers Bend State Park reopened one week ago after major flooding reshaped the landscape and it couldn't have come at a better time. Management estimates more than $100,000 have been lost from cabin rentals alone.
The state park was closed for nearly 7 weeks after floodwaters were released from the Broken Bow Lake Spillway - showing no mercy for structures in its path. Crews have been working around the clock to get roads repaired and debris cleared. They have made considerable progress in a short period of time. All roads and bridges have been repaired, except for one. Current estimates to fix just that single bridge are well over a million dollars.
Jimmy George lost his canoe shop to flooding back in May. Luckily, after rebuilding, his new shop had minimal damage after the December flood. He says he is amazed by the progress made in such a short period of time.
"It's bad, but it's actually brought people together, working better together now. I mean you're meeting people you never even knew existed. So watching the process has been good," said George.
The park reopened just in time for the holiday weekend, one of the biggest during the off-season months.
Jim Miller, manager of Beavers Bend State Park is also proud of the progress, and happy to see people back enjoying the park.
"It's really great to see people here, again. You go 6 or 7 weeks without seeing anyone, and it gets lonely here a little. Once we opened it was amazing. We had fishermen here within 10 minutes after we took the barricades down, and I think we had RV Campers here an hour later," said Miller.
Optimism is especially high for those fishermen who visit the park frequently.
"It looks like it's going to be a little more structure to the river. A little more holes, more natural habitat..it gets a little old fishing the same hole every time (laughs) so it's going to be nice. Almost like fishing in a whole new river," says Josh Womack, a Dallas native visiting the park.
Many repairs still need to be made, and debris will take a few more weeks, if not months to clear, but for employees and visitors the progress has been a blessing.