An article in Sunday’s edition shed more light on a situation in White Canyon, a small, unincorporated development east of Randolph on the west side of Tuttle Creek Lake.
Residents there have been among those most affected by the lake’s flooding over the last six months or so. But unlike most of us — who since the summer have been able to stop worrying about high water levels and whether officials might ultimately open the flood gates — White Canyon is still in crisis.
For those folks, high lake levels have meant months of water covering the only road that provides access to their homes. Many have had to use boats any time they want to get in and out. And though the water has now receded, residents still are dealing with a road that is covered in branches and debris, and is basically impassable by car. Some are using all-terrain vehicles, and that won’t get any easier as winter sets in.
Residents have pleaded for help from the Riley County Commission to no avail.
County officials say that while the county owns the right-of-way, the county doesn’t own or maintain the road. They also said it wasn’t built to county standards.
Commissioners wisely considered establishing an alternate route for residents. So far, that hasn’t worked out.
It looks as though White Canyon residents will have to band together and find a way to clear the road themselves. If they can find someone with the right heavy equipment, that shouldn’t be too difficult.
But we’re left with a few concerns.
First, we’re disappointed with the way the county commission has responded. This is a small group of constitutents, but constituents nonetheless. They have been living in a state of disaster, and the situation is still nothing short of dire.
To say the county has been slow to respond is an understatement. The county may not be able to help with the road, and we can understand that, but officials still should show concern and try to help in other ways.
Second, even if residents can clear the road of debris, it isn’t a permanent solution to the problem. High water is likely to happen again in the near future, and when it does White Canyon will be right back at square one. The county commission needs to do anything it can to prevent that.