We passed the third anniversary a few days ago of the dam collapse that wiped out a state park. The rebuilt Johnson’s Shut-Ins is getting closer to re-opening day. The comeback is getting close to completion. The state parks division doesn’t have the exact date for the formal reopening of Johnson Shut-Ins, but it will sometime in the new year.
Yet to do–some cabins and an orientation center to build. Workers are still refurbishing the campground, which has been moved from the valley area to another location, leaving the valley area for day use.
The biggest change is the river. The flood damage was so extensive that the East Fork of the Black River has been rebuilt, providing visitors with more access to the river than they had before.
Division spokesman Sue Holst says all of this has not created a "new and improved" park. "To us, it’s going to different, The landscape of the park has changed" she says.
She says the interpretive center will focus on the park today. She says it won’t focus on what happened, but the scour channel caused by the water rushing from the Taum Sauk reservoir and the way nature restores itself will be a good educational tool.