It’s not even March, but a lot of Iowans are already looking forward to late May. Iowa Department of Natural Resources Parks Chief Kevin Szcodronski says it took just 72 hours for people to claim all of the advanced reservations at nine state campgrounds for the Memorial Day weekend. The state’s on-line reservation system allows people to claim a spot up to three months in advance.
"It’s amazing, people when they look outside and look at the weather, they probably aren’t thinking camping…but a lot of them are because they’re looking for that Memorial Day weekend," Szcodronski said. Half of the campsites in the parks will still be available on a first-come, first-served basis. But, those are often claimed by people that show up several days before the holiday weekend. Szcodronski says the DNR may revisit and expand it’s 50-percent reservation policy.
"Looking at the demand and the popularity of the reservation system…maybe not for all the parks, but I think for some of the more popular parks the public and campers would be supportive of us at least bumping that up to 75 percent sites reservable," Szcodronski said.
The nine state parks where Memorial Day weekend advance-reservation sites are full are Lake Anita, Lake Ahquabi, Brushy Creek, Elk Rock, Ledges, Maquoketa Caves, Viking Lake, Prairie Rose and Lake of Three Fires.
"I really urge people to look at other state parks," Szcodronski says, "everybody who visits a different state park for the first time is just amazed that that park is also beautiful. So, have some ideas of what your second or third choices are and get on line and reserve those." Iowans can reserve state park campsites, cabins, lodges and shelters on-line at at the DNR’s reservation site .