Hoosier Campgrounds Nearly Packed Over Weekend
Jack Donaldson just wanted to spend some quiet time out in the "wilderness" this past Memorial Day weekend.
But, unfortunately, he wasn't the only one with this bright idea, according to the Muncie, Ind., Star Press.
"As soon as I pulled up into Prairie Creek, I knew it was going to be a busy weekend," Donaldson said. "There were all these kids and beer and cars and just stuff. And I know Prairie Creek isn't exactly 'wild' but I did want to just get out and be outside and breath. So, there went my quiet weekend."
For anyone hoping for a solitary moment at any of Indiana's state parks and reservoirs this Memorial weekend, they must have been pretty disappointed.
The state parks and reservoirs were at 99% capacity — numbers they haven't seen in a long time. And, thanks to the economy, they expect to see a similar trend through the summer.
"People want to stay close to home and they want to explore their natural treasures," said Christie Wilmoth from the Department of Natural Resources' Division of State Parks and Reservoirs. "With the economy the way it is, and the way it has been, the affordable costs of camping have made it attractive to many Hoosiers, including those who've never camped before."
Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on plane tickets and hotel costs, not to mention on restaurant meals and sightseeing excursions, families can spend less than $100 on camping fees over the course of a weekend.
There is no need to break the bank on gas or to eat at restaurants across town, either. Most families choose to grill on site and hike all the calories off during the day.
"The combination of good weather and a bad economy have been good for the camping world," said Bob Patterson, superintendent of Prairie Creek Reservoir. "We were prepared for the large numbers this weekend. And we expect it to keep up for the next holiday weekend."
Camping numbers nationally have increased as the economy has taken a turn for the worse. Recreational Equipment Inc. has also seen a spike in the sale of camping equipment, especially tents and sleeping bags.
Donaldson figured he'd see "lots more" campers this year, just as he did last year, but with the Indianapolis 500 on television this weekend, he thought some would stay indoors and out of his way.
"I guess I just have to get used to this, at least as long as the economy is the way it is," Donaldson said.