HUNTSVILLE, Ala - Floodwaters have put most of Ditto Landing underwater. Executive Director Brandi Quick says the water levels remind her of flooding that occurred in 2015. As she waits for the storm to pass, her thoughts turn to the cleanup effort that will have to take place to get the park back to normal.
WHNT News 19 visited Ditto Landing Monday. During the beginning of the week, most places weren't already experiencing flooding, but Ditto was. Water has begun flooding the campground and submerging picnic tables. By Friday, all of the campgrounds, trails and parking lots were covered with water.
"I wouldn't be afraid to say there are places that are six to eight feet deep," Quick said.
Besides Quick, the park's office staff have the day off and it's a good thing too because the only way to get there is by boat.
"One of our employees will go and get a kayak and get a workboat and then meet those of us that aren't, don't have kayaks here on the property. And then we'll just jump on that workboat and go into our floating office," she said.
She says it's a good thing the office floats because if it didn't, it would be underwater as well.
The team at Ditto prepared for the flood by turning off power to campgrounds, cutting off fuel pumps, and adjusting dock anchors so they can rise with the floodwaters.
"Really, we're just waiting for that water to go down before we can get back to work," she added.
Before everything goes back to normal there, is going to be a lot of cleaning up to do.
"The river's moving quickly. It's picking up a lot of sediment along the way. Well, when it comes back to us and it stays here for a while, it drops that sediment down and kind of leaves it," she explained.
The river also leaves a lot of debris and trash. She is asking the community for help with the cleanup effort. In a perfect world, she would have 150 people volunteer.
"We'll be looking for groups who want to help us out with picking up that debris, with any kind of pressure washing or cleaning that they're an expert in, as well as just picking up litter along the way," she said.
Quick says there is a silver lining to the rain clouds. Ditto Landing is built to handle flooding. So as soon as the water goes back down, it will be business as usual for them. Quick says it's still too early to tell when the park will reopen.
Ditto Landing Officials Offer Warning To Boaters
Ditto Landing is closed due to flooding and officials from the park are warning people to think twice before getting out on the Tennessee River. Near Ditto Landing, the river is up nearly 10 feet. Trees that are normally on the shoreline are now underwater. The current is moving swiftly and it's carrying large debris.
Quick says this is a bad time to do any kind of boating.
"First of all it's cold, second of all it's moving really quickly and the weather is changing so quickly that I would not suggest anyone be out just for recreational purposes on the river at all," she warned. "Because if you get into a situation you're going to put those first responders' lives in danger."
She says it can be easy for people to underestimate how strong the current is.