Camping as an economic getaway - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Camping as an economic getaway

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

With gas prices putting the hurt on wallets, park ranger Jim Hansen has noticed more people flocking to parks such as Palisades-Kepler State Park.

"We've noticed a significant increase in the last two or three years for camping in state parks," said Hansen.

Many campers at Palisades-Kepler are actually not far from home.

"It doesn't feel like we're in Cedar Rapids," said Paul Phillips.

Phillips and his wife used to go on road trips, but it's become too expensive compared to a small camping fee of only 11 dollars.

Many like the close-to-home convenience and using tow campers and recreational vehicles. For those who like to "rough it", a tent and basic gear is all that is needed.

"We visit here a lot," said Mark Hammond. "It's beautiful here, it's got lots of trails you can hike, the Cedar River is less than a mile away."

All of that is free to use and the Hammonds also like the close proximity of the park in case of bad weather.

Hansen believes that the beauty and offerings of state parks is what will attract more travelers.

"I'm sure more people are going to be looking for getaways that are close to home."

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