Some Lake Francis Case plans affected by flooding

Heavy spring runoff and recent heavy rains have caused rising water on Lake Francis Case, the long, impounded stretch of the Missouri River in South Dakota beween Fort Randall and Big Bend dams.

A boat-racing event — River City Racin’ — scheduled for this weekend in the Chamberlain-Oacoma area has been canceled, and some boat ramps and campgrounds are closing.

Here’s a news release from the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks detailing the impact to boat ramps and campgrounds along the river:

PIERRE, S.D. – Heavy rains over the past week have caused high water on Lake Francis Case on the Missouri River and have impacted campgrounds and boat ramps near Chamberlain, Pickstown, Gregory and Platte.

Several boat ramps have been closed and more will close as Lake Francis Case rises. The high water level is expected to remain through the rest of June and into early July. Of the 23 boat ramps on Lake Francis Case, nine will continue to be usable if water levels do not exceed the current water-level projections. They include:

  • Cedar Shore high-water ramp, Oacoma
  • Snake Creek high-water boat ramp, Charles Mix County
  • North Wheeler, Charles Mix County
  • North Point Prairie Dog Bay, Pickstown
  • North Point St. Francis Bay, Pickstown
  • South Shore, Pickstown
  • American Creek, Chamberlain
  • Platte Creek, Charles Mix County
  • Buryanek, Gregory County

Boaters are advised to use caution because extensive underwater and floating hazards may exist in those areas.

Boaters can go online for the up-to-date status of boat ramps on Lake Francis Case.

“We will reopen the affected boat ramps and state recreation areas in the state park system as soon as possible,” said state Parks Director Doug Hofer. “However, additional rain could prolong the closures or affect additional areas.”

Campgrounds have also been affected by the rising water.

North Point Recreation Area near Pickstown

The campground at North Point will be closed through June 30. A temporary campground with 75 campsites will be set up at North Point between Prairie Dog Bay and St. Francis Bay. The temporary campground will include vault toilets, picnic tables and fire rings. The North Point dump station will remain usable. Campsites will be offered at a reduced rate of $12 per night and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis through June 21. Beginning June 22 and extending through July 8, the temporary sites will be reservable through the state parks’ reservation system online at or by calling 1-800-710-2267.

Campers with reservations at North Point Recreation Area between now and June 30 are asked to call 1-800-710-2267 and select option No. 2. Campers can transfer their reservations to the temporary campground at North Point, transfer to other available state recreation area campgrounds or cancel and receive a full refund.

North Wheeler Recreation Area near Platte

The boat ramp and campground at North Wheeler are open; however, some of the campsites have been affected by the high water.
Other parks, boat ramps and campgrounds, such as Platte Creek Recreation Area in Charles Mix County and Buryanek Recreation Area in Gregory County, will remain open unless water levels exceed the Corps of Engineers’ latest projections.
Boat ramps are closed and camping is not recommended at the following lakeside use areas:

  • White Swan
  • South Scalp Creek
  • Dude Ranch
  • South Wheeler
  • Joe Day Bay
  • Elm Creek 

Dock 44 Marina, Fort Randall Marina, American Creek Marina and the marina at Cedar Shore Resort have been impacted by the high water. However, many services remain available at those locations. Customers may contact the businesses directly for more information.

According to officials from the City of Chamberlain, which operates and manages American Creek Recreation Area, the campground at American Creek will remain open but with limited sites and cabins available. The City asks that all customers call 605-234-5151 for campground information and reservations at American Creek.

The following recreation areas and boat ramps on Lake Francis Case operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are closed for an indefinite period of time:

Buffalo County

  • Left Tailrace Campground Recreation Area
  • Old Fort Thompson Recreation Area
  • Spillway Recreation Area 

Lyman County

  • Right Tailrace Recreation Area

Visit the GFP website for current boat ramp status. The site will be updated daily. 

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply