Cool spring, heavy rains shut down Doniphan campground - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Cool spring, heavy rains shut down Doniphan campground

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DONIPHAN, MO (KAIT) – Cooler temperatures and the heavy rainfall recently have hit the local tourism industry hard.

The inclement weather has practically halted a few businesses located along the Current River, including KC's on the Current in Doniphan.

 "It's strange to have the sun out and have this business that you just can't operate," says Teresa Lee, manager of KC's.

Lee says the KC's business has fallen, while the Current River levels have risen.

"We're used to having at least one flooding period and usually it's in May," Lee says. "This year, this is third time the river's been up."

The water this time has reached its highest level so far, forcing KC's to close its flooded campground and keep all its equipment available to rent off the water.

"Whenever it [the river] is this muddy and full of debris, we can't put any people on it," Lee says. "It's just too dangerous."

Lee only has to take a look back at the business records to know just how much damage the weather has done. The Memorial Day weekend kicks off the KC's busy tourist season, but the numbers during that time have shown the greatest difference year-to-year.

In May 2012, KC's had more than 1,300 people float the Current River. The total number of visitors in May 2013 was less than half that, at around 545.

"Others in town are feeling the pinch as well," Lee says. "Someone said, ‘Well, I guess they'll all just hit you at once.' I said, ‘That's okay.'

"We have nobody now," she adds. "We'll take everybody whenever they can, when the weather's cooperative."

Until the weather improves, Lee has tried to stay busy with paperwork and keeps fielding calls from concerned customers.

"People are kind of, I guess, leery of making plans right now," she says. "They want to make sure it [the river] goes down and stays down."

The tourist season may have started off slowly, but Lee expects things to pick up again in July, the KC's historically busiest month.

"We want them to still visit, still call [and] make reservations," she says.

What the KC's employees hope for now is that the Current River goes back down to floatable levels again later this week so that they can rent out more canoes and camping spaces.

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