People Stranded at Arizona Park Due to Heavy Flooding Headed out

January 20, 2023

Some 300 campers stranded at a park near Tucson due to flooding from recent rain storms were headed back to dry land.

Rangers at Catalina State Park were helping campers walk across the receding wash at the park’s entrance.

The park, located about 6 miles north of Tucson, has been closed since Monday morning after rains caused the Canada del Oro wash to overflow.

Authorities said swift-moving water and debris made the wash unsafe for crossing.

Water, mud and sand also was so deep at the park’s campground that even lifted trucks and vehicles with four-wheel drive couldn’t get through.

A Canadian couple from Quebec, Angele Drouin and her husband, were among the campers parked in their RVs. The floodwaters stalled their southern Arizona road trip.

“It’s nature. It’s OK,” Drouin told Tucson TV station KVOA. “It’s not a big deal.”

The park was expected to reopen Thursday.

Rangers said the flooding happens regularly, especially during the summer monsoon season.

A wildfire in the area in 2020 also took out a lot of vegetation, making runoff from rainwater more extreme.

Arizona State Parks officials said there are plans and a budget to build a bridge over the wash in the coming years so flooding won’t continue to be a common occurrence.