HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) Campers return to a Tri-State campground that’s been closed for more than three years.

The Audubon State Park campground in Henderson reopened today.

If you look around, you can see most of the spots are filled up. Park officials say they see at least 80% of spots occupied during the weekends. Campers say they’re just glad to be back. Most started arriving early this afternoon.

“It feels good to be back,” said Gary Johnson of Henderson County.

“This is the first time,” said Chamisa Goodwin of Hot Springs, Arkansas. “I used to come here and hike last year, and I liked it and I hoped they would reopen the campground.”

Some showed up earlier.

“I got here around 10:00 AM, 10:30 AM,” Johnson recalled. “Well, I wanted to get set up out here. The longer we wait, the hotter it gets.”

“They weren’t supposed to open until 1:00 PM, and we were here at 11:00 AM to set up,” added Alan Ramsey of Henderson. “I told them, ‘If you wait until 1:00 PM to get here, that they’ll be lined up on the highway to get in and set up.'”

The campground was closed so crews could repair the dam on the park’s nearby lake. Park officials say it took longer then usual because of issues with soil so concrete pylons had to be added. The water level is still five to six feet lower than usual, but some activities are still allowed at the lake.

“We usually rent paddleboats and stuff like that. We are not going to be able to do that because of the lake levels. It has been restocked by fish and wildlife. I will say fishing, it will probably take a couple of years before fishing will be back to what it used to be,” said Mark Kelley, Director of Park Operations.

“I know it’s going to be hot, it’s going to be a little rainy, I don’t care. I’ll be dry inside,” said Ramsey.

Park officials add while weekends are usually full, they’re usually at about 20 percent capacity during the weekdays.

(This story was originally published on July 1, 2022)