GRANGER, Iowa -- Just because it's cold and snowy outside, doesn't mean you can't enjoy the great outdoors. It takes a pretty hardy person to camp this time of year, but people are getting back to nature, even in the winter.
Betty Baum-Ferree and Jim Ferree rented a one-bedroom cabin in Polk County’s Jester Park last weekend. She said, "It's 20 minutes from our home in Clive, and it's worlds away."
The retired couple wants to enjoy winter this year by hiking. They thought a weekend getaway in nature would be nice. “I think it would make the winter go faster instead of fighting it, kind of enjoy it,” Mr. Ferree said.
People rented all four cabins last weekend, despite it being the last weekend in January. Kami Rankin with Polk County Conservation says people enjoy getting back to nature while have the comforts of home. "We have all the amenities. We have all the appliances and silverware and pots and pans and the indoor restrooms, which really appeal to people," she said.
The cabins have been pretty popular since the modern structures opened eight months ago. Rankin said, "Weekends are packed even this time of year. We are rented most weekends, not every weekend though."
Overall, the cabins are full 60% of the time. 1,200 people have stayed there since the cabins opened last Memorial Day weekend. Rankin said, "In our prime season, which was approximately May to August, May to September, we were at like a 77 percent occupancy rate, so it was much higher."
The rental rates went up $10 a night this January because of operational costs. A one bedroom that sleeps six people is $90 a night. A two bedroom, which sleeps eight is $120 a night.