Camping and Facility Rules and Regulations

A primary goal of the Department of Natural Resources is the provision of outdoor recreation opportunities for all visitors, including persons with disabilities. Facilities accessible to the mobility impaired may be found in many areas. Efforts are currently underway to provide additional access opportunities for persons with disabilities. Interested persons should visit the site and/or contact the park staff prior to scheduling outings to determine if facilities are adequate to meet an individual’s or group’s accessibility needs.

Persons with physical disabilities may use certain motorized vehicles to access specific areas in state parks and recreation areas, according to restrictions set out in IAC Chapter 61.7(8)b in order that they might enjoy such recreational opportunities as are available to others.

Accessible Camping & Picnic Facilities
Facilities accessible to the mobility-impaired display wheelchair symbol signs. The use of shelters bearing the wheelchair symbol are not limited to persons displaying the symbol on their vehicle. Certain campsites and open picnic tables (not shelters) have been provided for use only by visitors with mobility impairments. These sites are designated by signs and are reserved for those individuals with vehicles displaying the wheelchair symbol on their license plate or rear view mirror tag.

After Hours Fishing
Limited areas are open to after hours fishing.

Alcohol Consumption
Beer (with an alcohol content 5% or less by weight) and wine (with an alcohol content 17% or less by weight) can be consumed in state parks and recreation areas. Drinking of these beverages is not permitted on roads or in parking areas.

Keg beer is not permitted in campgrounds or on beaches. Persons wishing to hold a keg party in any other portion of a state park are required to obtain a keg beer permit in advance. The permit requires a minimum deposit of $100 and a responsibility agreement signed by a designated agent. Contact the area park office for more details.

Hard liquor (such as whiskey, vodka, etc.), wine with an alcohol content of more than 17 percent by weight or other alcoholic liquors are not to be consumed in parks and recreation areas.

Keg Procedures for Lodges/Shelters

Animals or Pets
Rules and regulations regarding equine and other privately owned animals and pets.

Definitions of terms used in these rules and regulations.

Disposal of Trash and Garbage
Iowa state park and recreation area picnic and other day-use areas normally do not feature waste receptacles. Visitors must carry out their trash and are encouraged to bring bags for such purpose.

Waste receptacles are normally provided only at campgrounds, lodges, group camps, cabins and beach concessions.

Household, commercial or industrial refuse brought from private property cannot be dumped in government refuse containers.

Firearms, Fireworks, Hunting
The use of firearms, fireworks, explosives or weapons of any kind is prohibited in all state parks. A bow and arrow with attached bow fishing reel and minimum 90-pound test line may be used to take rough fish in accordance with applicable laws. State parks are wildlife refuges. Hunting and trapping are prohibited.

Fires are permitted only in designated areas, or where fireplaces or fire rings are provided. Fires must be extinguished when the campsite or picnic area is vacated.

Geocaching is the activity of hiding a geocache container from public view for the challenge of participants using a global positioning system (GPS) device and internet-published coordinates to locate the geocache.

Ice Fishing Shelters
Ice fishing shelters may be placed on or over state owned land or waters. The full name, street address and city of the structure owner must be painted in a contrasting color on all sides of the shelter in block letters at least four inches high. Shelters on the ice after sunset are required to have reflectors attached to all sides. All shelters must be removed from the ice on or before ice melt or February 20 of each year, whichever comes first.

Metal Detectors
Rules and regulations regarding using metal detectors.

Creating or sustaining any unreasonable noise in any portion of any state parks and/or recreation areas as well as state forest campgrounds is prohibited at all times.

Noise which can be heard at a distance of 120 feet or three campsites shall be considered unreasonable between the hours of 10:30 pm and 6:00 am.

This includes the operation or use of motorized equipment or machinery such as an electric generating plant, motor vehicle, motorized toy, or audio device such as a radio, television set, tape deck, public address system, musical instrument or other device causing unreasonable noise.

Quarreling, fighting or use of language which unreasonably interferes with the lawful use and enjoyment of the area by another member of the public is prohibited.

Open and Closing
Parks open at 4 a.m. each day and close at 10:30 p.m. Lodge and open shelter users must vacate the area prior to 10:30 p.m. All persons except registered campers, group campers, cabin renters, or yurt renters must leave the park by 10:30 p.m. Visitors in campgrounds, group camps or cabin, yurt and beach areas of parks, forests and recreation areas must also leave by 10:30 p.m.

Paintball Guns
The use of paintball guns in all state parks, recreation areas and state preserves is prohibited.

Removal or Defacement of Plant Life and Cultural Features
All Iowa state parks and recreation areas are open for removal of certain types of plant life unless signs posted within the area state otherwise. Mushrooms, asparagus, nuts, fruits and berries are the only types of plant material that can be removed and harvested in state parks and recreation areas. Other types of plant life cannot be removed. Ginseng cannot be harvested in Iowa state parks or state preserves.

Removal or defacement of other types of natural features such as bird nests and rock formations is prohibited, as is removal or defacement of cultural features such as Native American artifacts and mounds.

The use of chainsaws is prohibited in all areas.

Roads and Parking Areas
All driving is to be confined to designated roadways and is restricted to properly registered motor vehicles. The use of motor scooters, electric bikes and similar devices is prohibited. Electric personal assistive mobility devices may be operated in accordance with the requirements of Section 321.235A of the Iowa Code.

Parking is allowed only in parking lots. Vehicles may not be left unattended on any park drive, roadway or highway except in the case of an emergency.

Rock Climbing or Rappelling
Free climbing, and climbing or rappelling activity which uses bolts, pitons, or similar permanent anchoring equipment or ropes, harnesses, or slings is prohibited in state parks and recreation areas, except by persons or groups registered with the person in charge of the area. Individuals participating with groups must each sign a registration form before climbing or rappelling.

Climbing or rappelling is not permitted at the Ledges State Park, Boone County; Dolliver State Park, Webster County; Wildcat Den State Park, Muscatine County; Mines of Spain Recreation Area, Dubuque County; Maquoketa Caves State Park, Jackson County; Elk Rock State Park, Marion County and Stone State Park, Woodbury and Plymouth counties

Smoking is prohibited in public buildings. This includes toilet and shower buildings and other facilities in state parks and recreation areas.

Special Event Permits
Special event permits are required for any event for which attendance is solicited through advertising, invitation or other solicitation and that may interfere with the general public's normal use of a state park or recreation area.

Swimming and Beach Use
Swimming must be done in the designated beach area within the boundaries marked by ropes, buoys or signs.

Horseback riding and bicycle riding are restricted to state park and recreation area roadways and designated and signed trails. Maps of the state park and recreation area trails can be obtained from the park office.

Persons using the hiking trails are encouraged to stay on designated trails to minimize impacts upon park natural resources.

Weapons Permit Applicability
Information regarding weapons permit applicability.