High river levels impact local camping and canoeing businesses
NOEL, MISSOURI -
Those in the canoeing industry say Memorial Day weekend usually brings in more profit than any other weekend of the year.
However, this year, the overly high water level of the Elk River has been detrimental to some business owners in the Noel, MO area.
Those who canoe or float the Elk River as an annual Memorial Day tradition have had to slightly alter their plans.
"Kids, even me as a grown up, would have no chance in the water," said Corrin Ramirez, Noel, MO resident. "It's super dangerous."
"The river is super high, and we're surprised we get to stay here, relax, and definitely enjoy the Memorial Day weekend the best we can," said Brenda Isabel Aviles, camper.
Not only is money lost when customers can't canoe or float, but campground owners also say expenses rise with the water level, such as the cost of flooding repairs.
"We have bills to pay and employees to pay, and we were fully stocked for Memorial Day and weren't able to sell our stuff," said Carson Adamson, owner of Shady Beach Campground.
Adamson says this Memorial Day weekend has the lowest profitability since 2011.
They have added some amenities to the camp site in order to prevent weekends like this one from being a total loss.
"We have redone our zip line, started selling food, and just put in a new beer cave," Adamson said. "That way our floaters don't have to leave."
"That's actually the only reason we decided to stay," said Emanuel Bran, camper. "We were actually about to leave and then we realized there was a volleyball court and zip lining, and a place to just hang out and relax, so we figured we might as well stay."
While the high water level takes a toll on business now, Adamson says it could actually reap some benefits later on.
"This flooding and heavy rains we've been getting should set up the summer for great floating later in the season because we've put water in our aquifers," Adamson said.
"Since it didn't work out this weekend, we'll definitely be back another weekend," Bran said.
A majority of the Elk River campsites near Noel were able to stay open Friday and Saturday.
Owners estimate having to close Sunday and Memorial Day cut their profits for the weekend by at least two-thirds.