Palisades Kepler State Park Likely Closed Until 2021
If you drive down any street in Cedar Rapids, Marion, Hiawatha, or any of the Eastern Iowa cities affected by the derecho you'll see tree damage. Some have been removed and turned into mulch. Others still sit where they fell. Waiting to be cut up and taken away. Not only were neighborhood trees hit hard, but so were some of Iowa's beautiful state parks, including Palisades Kepler State Park near Mt. Vernon.
KCRG reports that because of the storm damage, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is closing some state parks for months. That includes Palisades Kepler where if you try and turn into the park's entrance you're greeted with a big 'road closed'sign. The DNR confirms that Palisades is closed and will remain off limits to the public for the rest of the year. All you have to do is take a look at some of the paths and roadways in the park to know why. Yes, some areas have been cleared but many branches and even some downed trees remain.
KCRG reports that DNR officials wish that they could reopen the park in time for the fall foliage season, but they need to be cautious and put safety first. They say that right now Palisades is unsafe for visitors and unfortunately it isn't going to be a quick process to get it cleaned up.
DNR officials tell KCRG that experts will be in later today look at the damage and see what needs to be done. If all goes well, the park could be open again for the spring of 2021.