This summer marks the twenty-year anniversary of the infamous “floods of ‘93” that caused much destruction and inconvenience for Iowans. As Marion County is home to Lake Red Rock, the largest lake in Iowa (www.lakeredrock.com), the effects of the flooding were, in some ways, more severe than other Iowa Counties. In the coming weeks, the Journal Express will provide more reflections about the flooding in 1993 from various individuals who were involved with flooding issues in the Marion County area.
In the summer of 1993, the tainter gates on the dam at Lake Red Rock were opened for only the second time ever, and some roads and highways were rendered impassable in the floods as well (Journal Express). Reflecting on some effects of the flooding this week is Steve Edwards from Marion County Conservation.
Edwards has been with Marion County Conservation since 1979 as the Director for the Marion County Conservation Board. The public areas of Marion County that were most deeply affected from Edwards’ standpoint are Cordova Park and Roberts Creek Park. Roberts Creek West campground suffered a lack of patronage because highway G28 was blocked off for a period of time in the summer of 1993.
Revenue that typically would have come in from Roberts Creek was down in 1993 not only because of the blocked road leading to Roberts Creek West, but also because the weather was simply not conducive to camping. According to Edwards, it rained almost every weekend, and people were doubtful about the usability of Red Rock campgrounds during that time; Roberts Creek was down 600 units. Though Roberts Creek East was open and somewhat accessible, there were only about 25-30 units available for campers during the floods. Edwards says “They heard all the publicity about Lake Red Rock in the paper and on T.V., and thought all the campgrounds were closed or not usable.”