Mistletoe State Park packed with campers two weeks after devastating microburst

A little more than two weeks after a sudden microburst ripped through Mistletoe State Park in Columbia County, campers are back out there for the holiday weekend.
A little more than two weeks after a sudden microburst ripped through Mistletoe State Park in Columbia County, campers are back out there for the holiday weekend.

APPLING, Ga. (WJBF)-  A little more than two weeks after a sudden microburst ripped through Mistletoe State Park in Columbia County, campers are back out there for the holiday weekend.

Winds around 100 mph tore through Mistletoe on June 17th, tearing down pine trees and smashing cars and RV’s– ruining Father’s Day Weekend.

“It was a pretty devastating blow,” said camper David Durrence.

Two weeks later, the debris has been carried out in time for the onslaught of Fourth of July campers.

“There were plenty of boats out on the lake yesterday,” Durrence said. “Nobody was scared.” He also said smashed campers were still there through Thursday– the day before he set up his campsite.

“In fact, there was a camper tore up right here where my camper’s sitting now,” Durrence said.

The landscape is visibly different. Dozens of pines are gone, and although the debris has been cleared, stumps and wood chips are scattered across the site.

“[I] didn’t dream months ago when we booked the site that we’d probably be on some of the heavier hit sites on the place,” said camper William Watson. “So it was really kind of a shock to come in and see exactly how bad it was.”

The scars on the land are still healing, but the campground has come a long way in three weeks.

“For what they had to work with, the place looks great,” Watson said.

Campers say there’s one problem remaining.

“The shade factor has really come into play,” Watson said. “I know on my site just across from us here–  every tree over there is no more than this high and splintered. And they got it out of the way as best they could.”

Despite the damage, the park is packed with campers.

“This year I wasn’t going to miss out,” Watson said. “We just like to go and camp. And we’re going to enjoy the outside and put up with the heat and all that goes along with it. So we took a shot.”

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