Big Changes Coming to Ledges State Park

BOONE, Iowa  --  Central Iowans have already been cut off from driving through the lower Canyon Road at Ledges State Park in Boone County this summer due to a road closure, and another major closure could now be coming in the upper part of the park.

“We want to upgrade the electrical service from 30 amp to 50 amp, we want to add some full hook up sites--which will be added to already-existing sites, they'll just be made into a hook up site--we're gonna do some renovations to our campground shower buildings and restrooms," said Ledges State Park Manager Andy Bartlett.

Creating nearly 40 new electric campsites will total more than $700,000 for the entire project, most of which will be footed by taxpayers.

"We opt to not have that, so I don’t know if it’s something I want my money going towards," said Des Moines resident Steven Gade.

Des  Moines resident Elisa Huss has been camping at Ledges for years, and looks forward to the improvements but not the closure.

"I am excited because it's my favorite spot to come to, but I’m kind of sad because then we won’t be able to camp here next year. So we'll have to find a new spot," shes said.

This could be the case, as Bartlett says renovations could take longer than expected.

"It unfortunately will probably be closed for much of the 2018 rec season, but that's when we're gonna kind of allow them to get in. The contractor's gonna have to deal with what Mother Nature mother nature hands out as far as weather goes," he said.

The DNR says the projected revenue loss at this campground, is more than $100,000.

“We’ve sat down and we've thought about those things before we went forth with these projects, and that's one of those things you have to do. Sometimes you have to give up some of those funds that will come in from camping in order to upgrade these, because we hope that if we upgrade it this one time that it would be good for many more years to come," said DNR Communication Director Alex Murphy.

Even though these plans aren’t set in stone, according to the DNR the picnic areas, trails, and roads will be open for business no matter the outcome.