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Stone State Park prepares for upcoming season, campers to pay more in fees this year at Iowa State parks

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- Campers looking to stay overnight in Iowa's state parks this year will have to pay more to do so. For the first time in 20 years, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has raised camping fees at the state's parks.

While Wednesday's weather feels much more spring-like with the cloud cover and the rain, officials at Stone Park are gearing up for the season.

"If we want to maintain having good facilities, it's important for us to maintain having money come in to repair those," said Jacob Schaben, Stone State Park Ranger.

For the past 20 years, Iowa state park goers haven't noticed a change in overnight prices. But in 2018 the state legislature passed a measure allowing the DNR to set its own fees for camping, lodges, and cabins.

"A park like this, most of the infrastructure was built in the 1930s," said Schaben. "So we are closing in within this decade, on a 100 years that a lot of these buildings and things have been here."

And the price of repairs on buildings, water lines, and electrical have only gone up.

So, here's what you'll see if you're planning to stay overnight. Their biggest jump: lodge rentals. Prices jumped from $112.50 to $225 a night. Cabin rentals increased from $35 to $50 a night. Camping prices for an electrical site rose slightly from $17 to $18 and a non-electrical site is now $12 instead of $11.

"The reason that some of the prices jumped so high is because they maybe had really fallen out of touch compared to what other facilities around here were offering for price," said Schaben. "So it's probably more of a one-time deal that it's going to jump that much. Then hopefully from year to year, it stays pretty consistent."

Schaben said right now crews are staying busy getting the park ready for the recreation season.

"Opening up water lines, cleaning out buildings from the winter," said Schaben. "Checking to make sure that there isn't any damage on anything from over the winter months."

He said they also have a couple of road repair projects they're working on as well. Recreation season at Stone Park begins May 1. But the campground is open right now.

Michaela Feldmann

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