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Flooding in Ellisburg, Henderson damages RVs at campground, closes portion of state highway (VIDEO)

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HENDERSON — Heavy flooding caused severe damage to a campground in the town, and closed portions of Route 3 near the Ellisburg line on Monday.

The flooding was devastating to Renee L. Paone, owner of Up the Creek Campground. Ms. Paone and her boyfriend, Robert E. Curtin, purchased the campground in October, and officially took over as owners Jan. 1.

Ms. Paone, now in Myrtle Beach, S.C., said she learned of the damage from the family of the campground’s previous owner, who shot video around the site and put it on YouTube.

On Monday afternoon, many of the RVs were surrounded by a pool of water, covered by a thin sheet of ice.

Among the wreckage was Ms. Paone’s Cougar Fifth Wheel RV, which was sunk fully into the ground Monday as a small stream of water trickled by its front. A small sign hanging from a tree in front of the RV read “USA: My country, my home!”

“I think about it, and I cry all over again,” she said in a phone call with the Times.

Ms. Paone said she had camped at nearby Southwick Beach State Park since she was a child, and had lived at the campground for four years.

She said she had never seen conditions like the ones she saw in the video.

Among the valuables she said she hopes to salvage when she returns Wednesday are pictures of her son and two granddaughters, along with items belonging to her brother, who died four years ago. Ms. Paone said she was still talking to her insurance company about the damage.

“I just keep telling myself it was material items. Nobody was hurt; nobody was injured,” she said. “It is what it is.”

The campground has about 50 spots, with about 15 of them used regularly.

It was a depressing sight for Fred M. and Carole G. Carlton, who came up from Syracuse on Monday afternoon after being notified of the flooding via Facebook.

“It’s horrible,” Mr. Carlton said.

For the more than 20 years they have come to Up the Creek, they said, they have never seen water come anywhere near the campground, with it usually stopping in the nearby field.

Though their RV sits on higher ground at the site, they both expressed concern about what they would find when they made it through the icy debris.

Ms. Paone and the Carltons said they had questions about site work done along the stream this past fall.

State Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman Stephen W. Litwhiler said Monday afternoon that DEC issued a permit to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to do a stream stabilization project, meant to prevent erosion.

However, few details about the scope and progress of the project were available, and the Times was unable to contact the Fish and Wildlife Service’s office in Cortland on Monday before it closed for the day.

The closure of Route 3 was the only one Monday for the state Department of Transportation’s Region 7, which covers Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin and Clinton counties.

Video from the roadway and the campsite can be seen at http://wdt.me/flood-ellisburg. The initial video of the flood damage can be seen at http://wdt.me/N4JcMt.

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