Iowa Campgrounds Note Upturn
Whether it’s the smell of the fresh air, the recreational opportunities on the lake, the taste of s’mores toasted over a campfire or simply a get-a-way, more people seem to be going camping at area parks this summer, according to the Ottumwa (Iowa) Courier.
“This has been the best year ever for us,” said Karen Kissinger, campground reservation coordinator for the South Fork Marina and Campground at Rathbun Lake. “We have had so many first-timers to the lake and we are becoming busier every weekend.”
Whether it’s the curiosity of the soon-to-be Honey Creek State Park resort addition nearby or simply the enjoyment of the lakeside grounds, Kissinger said more people seem to be getting out and camping in 2007.
“We have been full almost every weekend and holidays we are always full,” she said.
Kissinger is not the only campground host who has experienced a surge in the number of campers. Ottumwa Park Campground Host Doug Creamer said the park has seen a larger number of visitors.
“We were completely full during the four days of the balloon races,” he said. “That is the first time since I have been a host here that situation has ever happened. It’s a good situation to be in, though.”
Creamer and his wife, Bonnie, have been hosts at the campground facility for nine years. He said 2007 has been one of the best years by far.
“We have had good crowds every weekend and even last night when there wasn’t much going on we still had quite a few people,” he said Thursday (Aug. 2). “This has been an excellent season.”
Kissinger said their non-holiday times have been strong as well.
“We have had our electrical sites pretty much full every weekend, holiday or not,” she said.
Lake Wapello State Park near Drakesville has also seen a fair number of park visitors. While it may not be the park’s best overall year at its campground, Park Manager Ron Moore said it was certainly not bad.
Last year between the months of January and June, the campground had 757 occupants; the number increased to 775 for the same time period this year.
“We might experience a bit of a drop until after Labor Day with the State Fair coming and kids going back to school, but I look for the numbers to go back up for a while after that,” Moore said.
He said while numbers are only slightly higher than last year, park officials have seen more traffic in the park with anglers and beach users.