Iowa state parks hope for better season in 2012.

The three-month window to reserve a state park campsite for a Friday arrival on Memorial Day weekend opens Feb. 25. But more than a few campers have their sites reserved beginning on the weekend before Memorial Day and are staying for the entire week, the Iowa City Press Citizen reported.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is hoping for improved camping conditions after the historic Missouri River flood closed two of Iowa’s busier campgrounds at Wilson Island and Lake Manawa state parks, and temporarily closed Lewis and Clark campground, driving total camping nights down for 2011.


  • Wilson Island will remain closed for renovation in 2012, along with the campground at Lake Darling.
  • Campsites at Emerson Bay are available for reservation through May 31, before being closed for renovation the rest of the summer. There is the potential for walk-in camping at Emerson Bay after June 1, if there are delays in beginning construction.
  • After being delayed by a severe windstorm in 2011, the newly renovated Union Grove campground is scheduled to reopen for walk-ins on May 18. It will be added to the reservation system in a few months.
  • Volga State Recreation Area’s Albany campground will be open for walk-ins with 22 new electrical sites on May 18. It will also be added to the reservation system later this spring.
  • At Clear Lake, seven campsites were converted to full-service, with electricity, sewer and water hook-ups. These will be available for walk-ins only until they will be added to the reservation system.
  • The lake at Prairie Rose has been drained for improvements but the park and campgrounds are open.

Campers can log on to http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com and enter their preferred amenities and requirements, dates and/or parks to see what sites are available and reserve a site.