More people spent time last year camping in an Iowa State Park compared to 2011. Jim Lawson, with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the parks were unusually busy in March of last year because there was no snow and temperatures climbed into the 70s.
“Our camping during March and April was probably up 25-percent over the previous year,” Lawson said. “So, we started off very strong and continued strong throughout the summer.” The DNR is reporting “total camping guest days” in Iowa State Parks at 709,595 in 2012.
That’s up from 684,417 in 2011. The busiest campground in the state last year was no surprise. “Year after year, our top camping area is the Gull Point Complex in the Great Lakes region,” Lawson said.
Okoboji’s Gull Point was followed in popularity by Rock Creek in Kellogg, Viking Lake near Stanton, Lake Ahquabi in Indianola, Clear Lake in Clear Lake and Lake Anita in Anita. Lawson pointed out that three state park campgrounds were closed last year for renovations; Emerson Bay in Okoboji, Wilson Island near Council Bluffs and Lake Darling in southeast Iowa.
The Emerson Bay and Lake Darling campground areas are scheduled to reopen this year. Lawson
Top 10 busiest Iowa State Park campgrounds in 2012:
Gull Point Complex – Okobojii area
Rock Creek – Kellogg
Viking Lake – Stanton
Lake Ahquabi – Indianola
Clear Lake – Clear Lake
Lake Anita – Anita
Ledges – Boone
Brushy Creek – Lehigh
Backbone – Dundee
Lake Manawa – Council Bluffs