Campsites Packed for Independence Day

Posted at: 07/03/2013 5:01 PM
Updated at: 07/03/2013 6:50 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- If you don't have reservations yet, you might be too late.

After a wet spring, campers are heading for their favorite spots this Independence Day.

"Typically the electric sites do fill very quickly,” said Myre-Big Island State Park Manager Jerry Katzenmeyer. “But the non-electric typically we do have some available right up into the weekend."

“6 or 7 years I'm coming here," Ingrid Gerlach told us, sitting in front of her camper in a shaded spot at the park near Hayward.

And for campground host Ingrid Gerlach, it's more than just a weekend in the park.  "I come over end of April, and last year I like it so well I stay until well after Halloween."

Camping season got off to a slow start this year because of poor weather. But this weekend should make up for some of that.

"I'm expecting we're going to have probably the best weekend we've had this year," said Myre-Big Island Park Manager Jerry Katzenmeyer.

“We have a good amount of campers coming in already."

And the fees paid by campers benefit the entire state park system.

"It is important because we do generate a fair portion of our operating dollars," Jerry Katzenmeyer told us.

At Myre-Big Island, about a third of the campers come from within 45 miles of the park. Another third come from elsewhere in Minnesota, and a third come from other states.

"We are just crazy about this park, it is so gorgeous," said Ingrid Gerlach, who comes from Saint Peter.

"People are different than when they are home. They are calmer, they are quieter.”

"We do have areas of the park that would be very similar to what it may have been prior to European settlement," park manager Jerry Katzenmeyer said.

“It's really nice, it's calming. It's quiet," added Ingrid Gerlach.

It's not just the state parks that expect big crowds this weekend.

The Jellystone Park campground on I-90 east of Austin is full through Sunday.

At the KOA on I-90 between Austin and Albert Lea there are a couple of tent sites available, but otherwise the park is full through Sunday.