Widespread flooding almost wipes out Mid-Michigan campground - WNEM TV 5

Widespread flooding almost wipes out Mid-Michigan campground

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(Source: Big Bend Family Campground) (Source: Big Bend Family Campground)
STANDISH, MI (WNEM) -

A Mid-Michigan campground was practically wiped out from this week’s flooding.

Now its owner is dealing with the cleanup.

The knee-high water from the Rifle River damaged everything in its path this week, including more than 60 campers.

“First time I’ve been actually scared to lose what I’ve worked my entire life for,” said Steven Vaughan, owner of Big Bend Campground in Standish.

Vaughan has been running the campground for a decade now, but the Rifle River almost took it away from him overnight.

“The ice came, the water came up. It was extreme. The panic set in. So, we packed our stuff and got ready for the move,” Vaughan said.

A combination of rain and snow melt caused the Rifle River to rise to its second highest level in history, according to the National Weather Service.

On Thursday, it was just shy of 13 feet, spilling over into Big Bend. The flood water covered decks, playgrounds and even parts of campers before people had to be evacuated to safety.

Luckily no one was hurt, but Vaughan can’t say the same for his campground.

“We’ve lost things that we can’t find. There’s going to be things that we can’t fix that we have to throw away. There’s many people that’s had these campers for several years that might not be able to replace them. That’s the devastating part. The cleanup is easy. The cleanup is water, ice, the mud. But I want them to get it back to what I had, but that might not happen,” Vaughan said.

He said he is working directly with more than 60 campers to help with insurance claims. While is unsure of the price tag on all the damage, what he is sure of us what he calls the “Big Bend family.”

“I’m not one to give up and we’ll fix this. This will come back. On Memorial weekend, everybody will be lined up at the road trying to get in and it won’t look like there was a flood. That’s my promise. We’re going to do the best we can do,” Vaughan said.

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