State Park Seeing Camping "Spillover" After Shutdown Closings
By Dave Franzman, Reporter
JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa — The government shutdown that meant closing federal recreation areas by Coralville Lake is having a “spillover” effect at one nearby state park.
Camping at Lake Macbride State Park west of Solon is usually winding down by this time in October. But last weekend, all the campsites were full and the state park’s modern campsites are all reserved for the coming weekend as well.
Chief Ranger Gwen Prentice said the most common question when people call the park office now is “are you open?”
“We kind of anticipated that just because West Overlook does have a big campground and a lot of campers and we’ve seen an increase in the campgrounds since the shutdown last week,” Prentice said.
West Overlook and several other campsites around Coralville Lake operated by the Army Corps of Engineers closed when the partial federal shutdown began last week. That has seen campers like Larry and Peggy Kauffman of Kalona in search of alternatives. The Kauffmans usually stay this time of year in one of the federal recreation sites. Larry Kauffman said switching parks wasn’t that big of a deal, as shutdown impacts go, but it is a little disconcerting to have to constantly stop and think about what’s open and what’s closed.
“Every time you think about doing something, you have to do a mental checklist is what I’m thinking about doing close or effected by the shutdown,” Kauffman said.
And it’s not just campers who’ve had to make last minute switches. Boaters wanting to get into the water at Lake Coralville also have to think ahead. Several public boat ramps operated by the Army Corps of Engineers are also officially closed to use right now. The boat ramp at Lake Macbride is the only “free” launch ramp remaining to get into the water at Lake Coralville itself. Boaters can also pay to use the private ramps at marinas and recreation sites around the lake. But many more boats and trailers than usual were parked at the Lake Macbride ramp on Tuesday.
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