Thousands of people are spending this final holiday weekend of the summer at an Iowa State Park. The Iowa DNR’s state parks bureau chief, Kevin Szcodronski, says it appears Iowans are spending money on recreational vehicles despite the slow economy. “I was at an open house for an RV center in central Iowa and they said they’re having their best year ever,” Szcodronski said. “They kind of specialize in the fifth wheel trailers and people who have trucks or vehicles that can pull those – they just pull up and ask what they can purchase that they can pull with the vehicle.”

Most of the state’s 48 “full service” parks – those with electrical, sewer and water hookups – have been packed with campers all summer long. Szcodronski says many of the campers are older Iowans or those nearing retirement. “People who have that money…it’s probably the baby boomer phenomenon,” Szcodronski said. “As they’re reaching retirement, if they have the means, they must be getting out. We’re sure seeing it in our parks.”

Around 14 million people visit Iowa’s 85 state parks every year. The number of park visitors tends to drop off after Labor Day, but some parks remain busy through the end of October as Iowans check out the Fall colors. “We have some state parks, particularly in northeast and southwest Iowa, that will be very busy during the peak Fall color season,” Szcodronski said.

Szcodronski estimates campsite usage at Iowa’s state parks is up 5-7% this year compared to last.