Busy weekend for campgrounds in Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Busy weekend for campgrounds in Iowa

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DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -- Almost every department in the state has had to face the harsh reality of budget cuts. That includes Iowa's parks and campgrounds. For some staffing cut in half, others given additional responsibilities. So how will it effect Memorial Day camping? Park rangers across the state are prepared for the rush.

Most parks in Iowa allows campers to reserve a place for the weekend. But in Dubuque County, it's first come first serve. And that's exactly why campers were already lining up on Friday afternoon.

Jared Karney arrived at Mud Lake Campground on Wednesday.

"Family's coming from Michigan and we're all just gonna camp out and relax. I came to days ago, set everything up and just waiting for people to get off work," Karney said.

But he wasn't alone, Park Ranger Chris Clingan has been preparing for this weekend.

"We're gonna have some good weather this weekend so they're gonna be a lot of people camping, a lot of people fishing, hiking. Just a lot of people outdoors, enjoying the outdoors in general.," Clingan said.

Fortunately budget cuts haven't hurt Clingan's responsibilities. But he says many of his peers are stretched thin this holiday weekend.

"We try to be as fiscally responsible as we can in times like these. It's pretty bus ye very weekend but we're fortunate to not have it as bad as some other places," Clingan said.

He'll be busy too. Busy watching for law breakers, monitoring fire wood, and making sure people are respectful of the campsite. All the while, he says he's expecting the campground to reach to capacity by Friday night.

"Most of our campgrounds in Dubuque are full so if you haven't set up yet it's gonna be hard to find a spot," Clingan said.

As for campers like Karney this weekend is a chance to get away and enjoy the great outdoors.

"Not being in the city, just being outside, sitting relaxing, being outdoors," Karney said.

So whether you're camping in an RV or using a good old fashion tent, park rangers across the state say this weekend is a great way to kick off summer.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says in 2010, about 700,000 people will camp in Iowa. There are nearly 150 state parks.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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