Watch Raging Flooded Minnesota River Overwhelm a Swinging Bridge
The swinging bridge, a popular feature at Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton, Minnesota, has been temporarily closed due to excessively high water on the St. Louis River.
Recent snowmelt has pushed the river to several feet above normal levels prompting a flood warning for the area. Upstream in Scanlon and Cloquet, the river is encroaching on buildings, including the River Inn bar and restaurant. As reported by our news partners at WDIO, the establishment says they'll stay open until the water reaches the top of their deck or starts to leak into their storage room.
Back downstream at Jay Cooke State Park, river levels have reached a point where park officials felt it was necessary to close the swinging bridge for the safety of visitors to the park.
While there were photos and videos online showing people on the bridge on Friday with the river raging just inches below the bridge deck. One visitor shared a photo of people on the bridge, comparing it to a visit from August of 2022.
In a video posted from Sunday, you can see water just below the deck of the bridge.
The Minnesota DNR shared a note on the Jay Cooke State Park website, noting the closure as of Saturday, April 15. They explained that while the water was on average about 2 feet below the deck of the bridge, churning water would occasionally reach higher. Adding to the water, occasional ice or other debris like trees would also come down the raging river, adding an extra danger.
The bridge will remain closed temporarily until it is deemed safe to reopen it.
In the meantime, the message from the park's website also includes an important reminder to visitors of Jay Cooke and other river viewing destinations. They note that while this rushing water can be interesting to look at and offer cool visual/photo opportunities, you should be safe and use caution and common sense.
True of being near any moving waterway right now, the advice is to stay away from river edges to avoid accidentally sloping into the fast-moving water. Slippery, wet, or even snowy/icy spots near a river edge could make it easy to slip and fall in.
While not at the levels of the 2012 flood, the St. Louis River is definitely raging right now. Look back at the damage from the 2012 flood in Jay Cooke State Park in the images below.