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CARLTON - After months of rehab, one of the city's most popular spots is getting closer to re–opening.
Jay Cooke State Park and the surrounding area have been steadily rebounding after the massive flooding shut it down three months ago.
The Northland flash flood left the park, known to have 325,000 visitors a year, closed indefinitely after the majority of the 50–mile trail system was damaged in some way.
"We had culverts washed out, we had trail bridges that got washed away," Jay Cooke State Park Interpretive Naturalist Kristine Hiller said. "Erosion of the trails or mudslides that completely wiped out the trail system."
The only way into the park Monday was through a bike trail while crews continued to patch up gaping holes on Highway 210.
The update on repairs to the highway, and the park itself were the topics of a community meeting Monday night in Carlton.
"It looks like mid–October we should be able to be done and at least have people back into the park," MnDOT Project Manager Todd Campbell said.
However, Jay Cooke State Park will not re-open their reservation system until the road is officially re-connected.
By winter time, cabins and campsites along with seven to eight miles of trails on the park's north side should re-open.
However, re–construction of the iconic swinging bridge will take more time, leaving 25 miles of trails on the south side nearly inaccessible.
"We're looking at years of recovery," Hiller said. "When people are allowed back in, you're still going to see a lot of damage to the park."
Access to Jay Cooke from the east on Highway 210 has also been cut off since the flood after an embankment along Forbay Lake gave way and caused water to gush down and cut a gap in the highway.
Plans to re–construct that area are still being determined.