Cool spring, heavy rains shut down Doniphan campground

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

The inclement weather has practically halted a fewbusinesses located along the Current River, including KC's on the Current inDoniphan.

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

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

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

The water this time has reached its highest level so far,forcing KC's to close its flooded campground and keep all its equipmentavailable 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 toknow just how much damage the weather has done. The Memorial Day weekend kicksoff the KC's busy tourist season, but the numbers during that time have shownthe greatest difference year-to-year.

In May 2012, KC's had more than 1,300 people float theCurrent 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. "Someonesaid, '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 everybodywhenever they can, when the weather's cooperative."

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

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

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

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

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

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