Campers Returning to Campsite After River Levels Forced Them to Leave

UPPER AUGUSTA TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Last week, the rising waters of the Susquehanna River forced those camping along its banks to leave their campgrounds in central Pennsylvania.

Now the water has receded, and many of them are making their way back to their campsites.

It may still be a soggy day, but as campers pull into Fantasy Island Campground along the Susquehanna River near Sunbury, it's a sign that things are returning to normal.

The campers were forced out last week as the river rose following days of downpours in central Pennsylvania.

“They told us we had to move out because it's coming up 25 feet, and it's time to go,” said Ronny Naugle from Harrisburg.

As a convenience to those displaced campers, area businesses offered up their parking lots so people could stash their campers, boats, and RVs until they were allowed to go back to their campgrounds.

Tom Slike, owner of Northwoods Nissan, let people leave their campers for free on a lot in Shamokin Dam. The site where Kmart stood will be the home of his new dealership.

“I know what it's like to have a camper, and it's like your second home,” said Slike. “You've got all your happy memories surrounding that and they wanted to get it someplace safe.”

Campers say they were so grateful for that assistance.

“We were told that Beiter's in Sunbury was our evacuation point, so I got done helping with other people and moving other people and stuff like that. Beiter's was full, so they said go to the Kmart,” said Jerry Lauver from Dauphin County.

“Oh yeah, that was great. Man, they were really great about that. Otherwise, I don't know where everybody would have went,” said Naugle.

People here say they've been camping along the river for years, and they knew they were going to have to leave well before the evacuation order was issued.

“I knew what the river was doing,” said Lauver. “Two days before they told us to get out I already had my stuff packed, ready to go. We moved the camper, and we got a hotel for two nights and then came back.”

“It's nothing we're not used to. We've done it before. We've moved out twice in one year already. It's nothing unusual,” said Naugle.