La Crosse parks and trails still feeling spring flooding impact

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- As a record setting spring in the Coulee Region has turned into summer, the impact of the flooding has lingered.

A road closure sign stands at Pettibone Park, where the north end of the park experienced significant damage form spring flooding

Specifically at the Marsh Trails and Pettibone Park.

At some city parks and trails, city staff say they have never seen the water as high as it was for as long as it was, in decades.

In some cases, ever.

"Just seeing the massive trees and debris that was getting pushed down the river, a lot of that landed in Pettibone Park and so we could see that happening as the park was underwater. But now getting in there and seeing the extent of the damage, it's nothing that I've personally ever seen before," said City of La Crosse Recreation Coordinator Leah Burns.

At Pettibone Park, the beach and canoe shop are open.

But the north end of the park remains closed for the foreseeable future, according to the Parks Department.

While city staff have been working to clean up Pettibone, they have been doing the same at the Marsh Trails, which just opened for the season last Friday except for the Willow Trail.

"All the trails that are open at this time are very safe. That's our biggest concern when we do re-open any trails, and are only going to re-open them when they are in a completely safe condition for the public to use," said Burns.

Temporary fixes were made to the Marsh Trails and significant repairs are needed at Pettibone Park.

City officials are starting to look at ways to make sure the damage that occurred this spring never does again.

"Looking at is there a better way to kind of hold the water when we do get big rainfalls. Is it culverts we're looking at, is it moving the trails to different areas. There's a lot that's going to go into this long-term fix, but we're in the very beginning stages," said Burns.

City staff say the flooding caused sinkholes, road damage and more problems.