Spring river businesses ready for vacationers

HARDY, AR (KAIT) - The two floods this spring slowed many Spring River businesses from their expected opening days. Even though flood waters have receded and did so over a month ago, calls asking whether or not they are open are still coming in.

Tasha McArthur is managing the Spring River Valley Canoe and Camp said she has been working hard to get the camp cleaned up. "We were flooded out twice there in April. It got 4 feet up in our building but we are managing to get back on our feet." McArthur said that they had lost paddles and picnic tables and other things she is pretty sure floated down river.

Those high flood waters caused damage and lost revenue for spring river recreation businesses.

Up the river at Many Islands Camp, the river is wider and the flood waters didn't reach as high but still the calls are coming in. Jin Wood says the phone can get busy. "After a flood we get a lot of calls asking if we're open after the flood."

Potential customers often turn to the Internet and find flood stories. Those assumptions then prompt calls to the businesses. McArthur, "They're calling to ask if the campground is open because of the flood and if the water level has gone down." McArthur says the river is still running fast but that it makes for an enjoyable time since floaters don't have to get out and drag boats across sandbars.

At Many Islands, Jin Wood looked out the front window of the store as the river plodded by the camp. "They are calling to make sure that we are open. If the river is safe, if there is not a lot of debris floating down to get in their way and just make sure they can camp by the river."

Robert Dils has been coming to the Many Islands Camp for 15 years. "We never call ahead. We always just drive up we always just come right up and we've never had a problem. The river might muddy up after a good rain but 12 hours after that it's clear." Dils says the one concession they do make with the possibility of bad weather is that they stay on the camp side instead of across the islands.

With two major floods this year both Spring River Valley and Many Islands got a late start in preparing for campers. McArthur, "I was all ready for the season and now it set me back a little bit."

Kristin Turnbough who also runs the store at Many Islands said, "It usually takes about 2 weeks to clean up. The guys outside work really hard trying to get the debris and everything cleaned up after the floods and here in the store we can get everything back together in just a few days."

For both camps, 2011 so far has not been a booming success. Memorial Day weekend was all right but business is still running a little slow.

Turnbough, "Could be a combination of things. The economy, gas prices being so high, people just being concerned about if our camping is in good shape."

Be assured that the river is beautiful and businesses are ready for customers. McArthur, "Yeah we're ready for everybody to come on out. We'll do what we can to make sure they have a good time."

Wood, "We're absolutely ready. Everybody should come see us, we're open."

Dils, "I've been driving up here for 15 plus years for a reason. And I'm going to keep doing it for as long as I can. As long as I'm in Memphis or anywhere in this area I'm definitely going to keep coming, most definitely."

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