MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On this picture-perfect Fourth of July, flags are flying, and life is pretty darn good at Kamp Dels in Waterville.
This summer scene makes it all the more unbelievable that this is what things looked like here just nine months ago. A twister in late September tore down hundreds of trees and destroyed more than a dozen campers.
The destruction was all caught on camera. Video shows the wind picking up, the sky going dark, and the debris starting the fly.
“We’ve been working non-stop until the snow fell. It started the day after the storm. We had everyone, all hands on deck,” said operations manager Grant Pope.
He says the clean-up process was long, and it all couldn’t have been done without help from the community. Looking around now, missing trees and memories are the only sign of what was.
“Our camper got put up in the air and flipped on its roof and dropped on the neighbor’s deck,” said Rick King of Hastings.
Kamp Dels has been open since 1955, and had never seen anything like that before last year.
“It’s not as much the damage left behind as much as it is what we can’t replace,” said Pope.
He hopes they will never see anything like it again, but knows they’re prepared, just in case.
“It’s really changed the way we look at weather as far as updating our guests and keeping up to date,” said Pope. “We have a storm plan in place now that we continue to communicate with our guests and make sure that they are safe.”
Kamp Dels is open for seasonal camping through October. Their recreational activities typically wrap up after Labor Day.