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Published July 07, 2011, 08:37 PM

Rising Devils Lake Now Claiming Cemeteries

People say not being able to visit their late friends and family is frustrating. If the water isn't flooding the Antiochia cemetery itself, it's cutting off all access to them.

The rising Devils Lake keeps taking land, homes, even towns. Now, cemeteries too.

People say not being able to visit their late friends and family is frustrating. If the water isn't flooding the Antiochia cemetery itself, it's cutting off all access to them.

The Antiochia cemetery because they just can't get to it.

"You can't get to that at all now. They had the road diked but the dike let go," former Churchs Ferry resident Arden Helgeseth said.

Arden's wife Sylvia visits her first husband's grave in Antiochia every memorial day, but this year she couldn't.

"Well it feels kind of different not to be able to go out there. Knowing it's all grown up to grass because they can't get to mow it," Sylvia said.

The rising water changes some of Arden and Sylvia's long-term plans too.

"We were going to be buried in Antiochia but I said 'no, we're not going to be buried in the water,'" Arden said.

Just to the north and east of Antiochia cemetery, the Churchs Ferry cemetery seemed like the next reasonable choice.

But that cemetery is battling the water too.

You can get to Chuchs Ferry, but the water is now invading five gravesites.

"It's all relatives of mine," Arden said.

You can still see three of the five headstones and a fourth barely peeks through the murky water.

The cemetary has always been a part of Arden's life.

"I dug a lot of graves by hand in there when it was 20 below," Arden said.

But in true North Dakota fashion, the Helgeseth's don't dwell on it.

"Well it was frustrating, but you got to look ahead, you can't look back," Sylvia said.

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