Camping Kick-off Weekend Take 2; Moves to May 16 – 18

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DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is giving Camping Kick-off Weekend another go ’round because poor weather affected turnout over much of the state. Camping Kick-off Weekend will be May 16, 17 and 18, in Iowa’s state parks.

Parks staff will hand out gift packages, while the supplies last, to campers using state parks during May 16, 17 and 18, that includes a camping coupon good for one night of camping, a free issue of Iowa Outdoors magazine, recipes, camping tips and other materials.

“Let’s face it, the weather was lousy. Generally, people do not want to go camping when it’s 50 degrees, the wind is howling and the weekend starts off with a good dose of rain,” said Kevin Szcodronski, chief of the DNR’s State Parks Bureau. “We had a steady diet of reservation cancellations and no-shows at the campsite. Even our more heavily used parks were well below their normal use.”

He said Rock Creek was at 33 percent capacity, Lake Ahquabi at 50 percent, Pine Lake at 12 percent and Marble Beach at 45 percent.

“We handed out some of the gift bags last weekend and will hand out the remaining gift packages until the supply is gone. We will also try to offer a variety of interpretive programs in the campgrounds, similar to what was originally planned,” Szcodronski said. “I must say, I was impressed with the number of campers we did have in the parks, given the weather over much of the state.”

Iowa has 53 state parks that allow camping. The coupon may be used at anytime after Camping Kickoff Weekend. Campers needing some of the add-on campsite amenities, such as full hookups or cable TV, may use the coupon but will need to pay the difference.

Campers will have to pay the appropriate site fees to camp during Camping Kick-off Weekend. Campsite reservation may be made online at, or secured on a first come, first serve basis for a non-reservable site. For more information on state parks, visit the Iowa DNR website at

For more information, contact Szcodronski at 515-281-8674, or Mick Klemesrud, with the DNR, at 515-281-8653.