Despite the July heat and the record August rainfall, Kevin Szcodronski, the chief of the State Parks bureau for the Department of Natural Resources , says it was an active summer season at the parks. “Overall, we’ve had a very, very busy summer,” Szcodronski says. “We had some stretches of rain and hot weather, but it did not deter the campers and the people out picnicking and hiking.”
Many state park managers are telling the DNR it was their busiest summer in the past decade. Final statewide campground and visitor numbers won’t be available until sometime this winter. Szcodronski says relatively good weather was the biggest reason for the increased activity, but there are other factors.
“You can summarize that maybe the cost of gas is causing people to stay a little bit closer to home,” Szcodronski says, “plus I think people are just hopefully getting out more, and setting that free time and that park experience as a higher priority.” Iowa’s peak camping season ends September 30. The off-season is October 1 through April 30.