Posted: Jul 18, 2013 1:14 PM by KBZK/KXLF Media Center
Updated: Jul 18, 2013 1:41 PM
HELENA - State parks officials are still assessing the damage done by Wednesday's flash flood to the historic town of Bannack but say about 80% of the town was washed away.
Montana State Parks has closed Bannack State Park and cancelled the upcoming Bannack Days as historic buildings, roads, trails, bridges, the fire detection system and boardwalks were hit with water and mud.
Montana State Parks spokeswoman Jennifer Lawson adds that there were about 20 visitors on site at the time of the flood and they were evacuated safely.
"The historic Bannack townsite has 60 core buildings and it is estimated that more than 80% have damage," said Dale Carlson, manager of Bannack State Park.
A majority of the Assay Office next to the Meade Hotel was washed away.
The flash flood came down from Hangman's Gulch through the center of town and is not attributed to Grasshopper Creek overflowing, according to Lawson.
Montana State Parks is currently assessing the situation with the State of Montana's Risk Management & Tort Division.
Lawson says in a news release that the state park is closed to the public, "and while offers of volunteer assistance is appreciated, at this time until a risk assessment is completed, we have no need for volunteers."
Bannack Days the annual, special event scheduled to occur on Saturday and Sunday, July 20 and July 21 has been cancelled. Montana State Parks staff is contacting organizations and participants with this information.
Bannack State Park is a National Historic Landmark and one of Montana's best preserved ghost towns. Bannack is the site of Montana's first major gold discovery in 1862 and is Montana's first territorial capitol.
(photo courtesy Montana State Parks)