If you were planning to reserve a modern campsite at an Iowa State Park for the upcoming holiday weekend, you’re too late. Kevin Szcodronski, chief of the State Parks Bureau for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says all the campsites with electricity have been reserved for the Memorial Day weekend.
However, if you have plenty of vacation time, you could snag a campsite early next week. “For most of our parks, only half of the sites are reservable, so the other half will be available at first-come, first-serve. But, you really need to think about getting out there and getting registered as early as Tuesday, if not before,” Szcodronski says. “For sure, if you wait until Thursday, those first-come, first-serve sites will all be taken.”
Last year, a lot of Iowans were visiting state parks early in the season as temperatures reached the 70s and 80s in March. “This year, it’s the opposite…it’s been so cool and rainy and snowy even. That pent up excitement is really building, so we think Memorial Day weekend this year is going to (bring) even more people (to state parks) than in past years,” Szcodronski says. Memorial Day weekend has traditionally been the kick off to the summer camping season across Iowa.
Here are some camping tips and reminders from the Iowa DNR:
· Keep track of the weather and have a plan in case of severe weather
· Plan to arrive as early in the day to set up the site, look for potential problems and avoid those areas
· Prepare ingredients for meals before leaving home for less time cooking and more time playing
· Bug spray, sun screen and a basic first-aid kit are must haves
· Check the registration kiosk for activities in the area
· Don’t burn trash
· Don’t bring fireworks
· Be a good neighbor. Observe quiet hours and pick up after yourself
· The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship requires all firewood sold or acquired in Iowa to have the county and state of harvest location on the label of packages and the delivery ticket for bulk firewood. The rules were added to prevent the spread of invasive species. The rules only apply to firewood sold and acquired in Iowa. The rule also requires the Iowa DNR to collect firewood from campers that does not have a label.