Camping. (DNR photo)

Some people have already been out camping this spring — but DNR State Parks Bureau chief, Sherry Arntzen, expects many more out this weekend.

“We anticipate that we’ll have another busy weekend. Memorial Day weekend is our official kickoff to what we call our state park recreation season,” Arntzen says. “Our camping numbers are really strong for this weekend. In fact, I don’t think you’ll be able to find them electric side or full hookup site for this weekend.”

She says wet weather has made it a little tougher to get everything ready. “I’d say our parks are in pretty good shape — you know one of our challenges we always have is being able to get some of our areas mowed in time. Working around Mother Nature for the busy weekend,” she says.

There’s a lot that goes into prepping the parks after the winter. “Every spring we’re out there cleaning up after the winter season when we get ready to turn our water on you never know if we’re going to have some water leaks so we’ve got that all squared away and we’re ready to go for this recreation season,” Arntzen says.

She has some basic tips for those heading out to campsites. “We always want people to keep track of the weather. You know, in Iowa you never know one minute is sunny and the next minute we might be experiencing a severe thunderstorm,” Arntzen says. “So we always tell people to keep track of the weather and have a plan in place in case of severe weather in our parks. And once you’re out there in nature recreating we’re always going to tell people pack your bug spray. Ticks are out there, mosquitoes.” Also don’t forget sunscreen and a basic first-aid kit as part of your supplies.