Emerson Bay Campground Remains Closed
The campground at Emerson Bay State Recreation Area on the southwest shore of West Okoboji Lake will remain closed, including for Memorial Day weekend, until the grass has been established throughout the area.
Opening the campground before the grass has been established could damage some of the landscaping that was part of the recently completed $600,000 renovation and upgrade.
“We are concerned about erosion and runoff into the lake and if we allow visitors and campers into the campground before grass is established, then we will likely be fighting erosion issues all summer long,” said Kevin Szcodronski, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau.
“We will assess the status of the campground in early June and make a decision for the July 4 holiday,” Szcodronski said.
“Mother Nature has not been kind to our seeding. We started during a severe drought last fall and ended with snow in May,” he said.
“Emerson Bay is among our most popular campgrounds in state parks. We want to get it open but cannot sacrifice the work that has gone in to this project nor the lake’s water quality in the name of expediency.”
The campground was closed in mid-June 2012, for an entire campground makeover. Crews removed trees and brush, installed new electrical lines, camping pads, fire rings and living spaces, and remodeled the older restroom/shower building.
The new Emerson Bay campground has fewer total campsites, but more sites with electricity. Campers will find 82 electrical sites, of which, 23 sites offer water and sewer connections in addition to electricity, and a new campground layout.
The new sites are larger, level and some offer the option to pull through rather than back in. The cable TV option that was part of the old campground was not included in the upgrade.
The campground will remain off the reservation system until a date has been selected for it to reopen.