"Pocahontas State Park suffered a major flooding event on Saturday August 15. This unexpected and unforecast storm brought over 9 inches of rain to the park in a matter of hours. A flash flood occurred and inundated the park's boat ramp field, brought both dams to an unexperienced high water level, completely submerged two privately owned vehicles, washed away the park's boat rental buildings and all contents and several kayaks/canoes and caused still unknown total damage to the park's trail system. Our immediate goal is damage assessment and repairs to address public safety and basic access to trails. Engineers from our Design and Construction office visited the park and met with staff Monday morning and an emergency declaration was approved by the agency Director, which will allow us some latitude to begin immediate repairs to the bridge over Swift Creek lake and a road washout. VDOT has begun their assessment and repair on the road and we have a contractor on site working on the bridge. We had a conference call with our Risk Management Director this morning and have guidance going forward as regards to long term repairs and claims with the Department of Treasury. This will be a long process and we'll be dealing with damage for months. The boat rentals will not reopen this year. Mountain bike trails will likely not open for weeks for some trails, months for others. Fire roads have not been fully assessed and, while open, there will be sections that still contain hazardous conditions.
Park staff has seen tremendous support within our agency at the District, Regional and Central Office level. As a state agency we're fortunate to have resources available to us, it'll just be a long process. We've also seen absolutely incredible support from our volunteers and hiking and biking community. Within hours after the flood I was receiving texts, calls and emails asking what help we needed. I'm constantly amazed and impressed by our volunteers and this did nothing but reinforce that. We already have an organized volunteer event scheduled and we've had lots of folks out helping to assess, scout and clean up already. There will be more opportunities in the near future as we continue to assess damage and explore the best ways to make repairs, and what the best course of action is regarding risk management claims and reimbursement. Stay tuned for work days and opportunities; as we progress into the aftermath of this we'll know better where to focus efforts.
We've also been asked how to make monetary donations toward the clean up and repair effort; I don't want to speak on behalf of our partners at Friends of Pocahontas and rvaMORE but I imagine that they'd be willing to be the clearing house for such donations. We're hopeful that the majority of repairs will be covered under the Commonwealth's claim process but we're also getting into territory that none of us at the park have dealt with before, and there will surely be expenses that are not covered for whatever reason.
On behalf of park staff and VA State Parks, sincere thanks to everyone for the immediate show of support and concern. This is your park, we on staff are public servants and land managers that do our best to maintain and operate the park, but this is your park. And that's being shown on a daily basis right now by the devotion, ownership and selfless offers of help that we're seeing. Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to get involved. Feel free to reach out to me anytime at email@example.com or 804-661-0027. Our volunteer coordinator can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nate Clark, Park Manager"
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