NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — Scout's Rest Ranch has taken the first step toward reopening after recent flooding.
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission representatives from across the state along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department in North Platte have torn down the dirt berms surrounding Buffalo Bill's historic mansion, barn and outbuildings.
The ranch was closed June 2 when severe flooding of the North Platte River was predicted. The main worry was that the river would spill over into Scout Creek, which runs through the park. The berms began to come down Monday and work finished up Tuesday.
Although a flood warning remains in effect, Aric Riggins, parks superintendent, said he's not overly concerned. He said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a 4-foot-tall levee west of the park to prevent overflow into Scout Creek.
"We've gone long enough. We need to open again," he said. "I hate turning people away. Even though people haven't been able to go inside the mansion, they continue to come out and walk the grounds. We lost probably 20,000 visitors and $25,000 to $30,000 worth of income, so that hurts."
Parks employees spent the summer repainting the inside of the mansion while it was closed.
The displays that had been moved upstairs have been moved back down.
Riggins said the mansion could be reopened later this week.
"For sure by next week the whole park will be open," he said.
Much work will remain. The areas that were covered with berms will have to be reseeded and landscaped.
"It'll take awhile to make it look pretty again," said Riggins.