Spring showers brought more than May flowers this year. They caused trails, creeks, and lakes to flood and the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to inch near 1993 flood records. Now, local outdoor organizations and adventure outfitters are making the most of what’s left of summer.

Multiple St. Charles County Parks along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers closed in mid-March: Riverside Landing, Bangert Island, the boat ramp at Klondike Park, and Hideaway Harbor Park.

“Despite the closures, we were very fortunate to experience minimal damage,” said Nancy Gomer, public information officer for St. Charles County Parks.

In July, Riverside Landing and Klondike’s boat ramp reopened. County park staff began assessing damage and clearing debris in Hideaway Harbor, while Bangert Island remained closed as July rolled into August.

Great Rivers Greenway experienced similar flood damage to the 125 miles of networked trails it manages.

Flooding along Busch Greenway in St. Charles County

“Much of our greenways are preserved as open space and act as flood plains,” said Anne Milford, communications coordinator for the agency. “While they received minimal damage, the flooding did leave behind debris, sand, and branches. The Riverfront Trail was tremendously flooded, since the Mississippi was above flood stages from March to July.”

Volunteers interested in helping clean up can contact St. Charles County Parks at 636-949-7535 and Great Rivers Greenway at 314-436-7009.

Spring storms also left their mark on professional guide company Big Muddy Adventures (BMA).

Traditionally BMA’s season begins on April 1 and its popular STL River Adventure trips hit the water on May 1. This year, BMA kicked off its season on July 10 with an open house showcasing its new digs in downtown St. Louis. Its first STL River Adventure of the season was July 23.

“Fortunately, we were able to move some river trips onto the Meramec River rather than the Missouri River, and our youth paddle camp moved to Horseshoe Lake State Park,” said Roo Yawitz, BMA’s general manager. “We also rescheduled planned trips based on water levels.”

Yawitz expects to be adding river trips through October, including a few full-moon floats and new overnight weekend expeditions on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Learn more and plan your next adventure at 2muddy.com.

Author: Nick Brennan is a regular contributor to Terrain Magazine.