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Amy W 
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Re: “Judge dismisses lawsuits over Albert Pike campground flood deaths

Below is from a series in the Democrat-Gazette about the flood. The government knew there was a flood danger.

Nearly ten years earlier, when the U.S. Forest Service began making plans to allow camping at Loop D, a soil specialist advised longtime District Ranger James Watson to build only primitive and tent camping spots there because Loop D was in a 100-year flood plain. The specialist worried that RV-camping would disturb the terrain.

Things such as electricity, water and sewer hookups should not be planned, the specialist said in a letter to Watson.

He also strongly recommended that flash-flood hazard signs be placed there.

But Watson pushed forward with plans to include electricity and water hookups at the new Loop D campsites. He didnt include the soil specialists warnings in his environmental reports about the expansion.

A review team appointed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the flood would conclude that Watson intentionally disregarded the scientists recommendations because he wanted the sites to be developed rather than primitive in nature.

Watson did this, investigators would say, because he wanted to meet perceived public expectations for the popular campground.

There also were problems with a hydrologists elevation reading, which led to confusion about where the flood line was.

The district ranger also failed to tell architects and engineers working on the project that Loop D routinely flooded at least a couple of times a year. As a result, no special precautions were taken to elevate or move campsites to make them safer.

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Posted by Amy W on 03/30/2017 at 8:12 AM


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