“Our campgrounds are already busy in fact we have some parks where the first come sites filled two weekends ago,” said Kevin Szcodronski, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau. “We are encouraging all of our campers to be aware of the noise level at their campsites and to have patience at the shower houses and dump stations because of the busy holiday.”
The DNR will be handing out large green reusable litter bags for campers to use to collect trash. The bags contain information on how campers can have a smaller impact on Mother Nature while enjoying Iowa’s scenic beauty. The DNR worked in cooperation with Keep Iowa Beautiful to sponsor the bags.
Boaters who use state park boat ramps will find ramps busy and parking lots filled to capacity. Patience will also be at a premium there.
“Delays at boat ramps can cause frustration among boaters who are in a hurry to get out on the water and enjoy the holiday. Boaters should plan to arrive early at the ramp, use the rigging lane to prepare to launch and to be courteous to the others waiting to put in,” said Susan Stocker, boating education coordinator for the DNR. “Boaters can reduce the chance of frustration by checking the boat for life jackets, a sounding device, checking the lights and fuel supply before heading to the lake.
They should also reduce their speed and watch out for others on the water.” Stocker said each boat should have a designated operator or to have a plan to rotate operators to reduce the amount of sun and wave action on one operator.
“The key to the plan is to have an operator who is not drinking alcohol,” she said.
Iowans heading to the lake this weekend should be sure to include a rod and reel. Fishing in Iowa lakes and streams is expected to be good.
“After a lot of rain and hot and cool temperatures, we are finally in a stable weather pattern and that should provide our anglers with good fishing,” said Mike McGhee, with the DNR’s Fisheries Bureau. “Look for largemouth bass and channel catfish close to shore. Bluegills should be willing to bite all over the lake and close to shore first thing in the morning.”
Sidebar: Dos and Don’ts for the July 4 Holiday
Do bring plenty of sunscreen and bug repellent
Don’t bring fireworks
Do bring balls, bats and gloves for kids to play with
Don’t bring in firewood from out of state
Do plan to spend extra time setting up the campsite
Do plan to arrive early to allow plenty of time to set up
Do call ahead if you do not have a campsite to see if there are any cancellations or first come first serve sites available
Do be courteous of other campers and follow the quiet hours. It takes only one loud campsite to ruin the experience for a lot of campers
Do pick up after yourself - Use those Green Bags that will be distributed at the parks
Don’t leave your lights on all night or the air conditioner running while no one is in the camper Do follow the park rules and plan to have a fun and safe holiday weekend
Do wear a life jacket
Don’t drink and drive while operating a boat
Don’t operate the boat faster than the conditions allow
Do check all boating safety equipment before leaving home
Youth ages 2 to 13 caught on Iowa's waterways wearing a lifejacket will receive a mock citation, a sticker and a coupon for a free small Frosty at a participating Wendy's restaurant.
The citation is part of the "I Got Caught" campaign that rewards youth for practicing good safety habits. Other behavior that will prompt a citation is wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle, scooter, skateboard or in-line skates. The program will run throughout the summer and culminate in the fall with several bike giveaways.
The DNR is a participating law enforcement agency. The primary sponsors for the 'I Got Caught' campaign are Iowa Health System, AAA Minnesota/Iowa and Wendy's Restaurants.
Iowa law requires children under age 13 to wear a life jacket while in a boat that is underway.