UPDATE (04/06/2023): McCormick’s Creek provided an update Thursday saying that while the park is still expected to open Friday, many park trails remain closed and the campground will be closed through October 1.
Volunteers who would like to help with park cleanup can sign up here, and they will be contacted by Indiana State Parks staff in the coming weeks.
OWEN COUNTY, Ind. — McCormick’s Creek State Park is expected to reopen on Friday after a EF-3 tornado ripped through the park’s campground, killing two people.
Crosses with flowers sit outside the park’s front gates to honor Brett and Wendy Kincaid. The couple was camping in a trailer at the park’s campground when the tornado hit.
It took park officials more than two days to clear the roads to the campground. Hundreds, if not thousands of trees, were downed during the storm.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources said initial rescue efforts at the campground had to be done almost entirely on foot.
“At that time that night, in the middle of the night, those roadways weren’t open and so we were bringing people in by foot,” Lt. Angela Goldman said. “All the rescue, all the searching, all of that was done by foot.”
Park officials said 38 campgrounds were in use that night. DNR officials said announcements were made to campers when the storm began to approach.
Photos from the campground show trailers flipped and slammed into trees.
In the days since, crews have been cutting up trees and clearing paths.
“I think normalcy is going to be long ways off,” Lt. Goldman said.
Goldman said the park is scheduled to reopen on Friday along with the Inn.
“The campground itself is going to be closed until at least the end of April and possibly substantially longer just based on how much clean up their is to do,” Goldman said. “There are a handful of cabins on site and those are being assessed individually and we’ll open those as we can.”
DNR officials are attempting to reach everyone who had reservations at the campground to reschedule them.
The investigation into the deaths of the two campers is ongoing.