Camp-Iowa.com had the opportunity to speak with Joe Hanner, who is the Director of the Guthrie County Conservation Board. We asked about the amenities that his parks offer, as well as where he’d spend a single night in the county. Enjoy.
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Camping Guthrie County Iowa
Camp Iowa: How long has Guthrie County had established areas designated for camping?
Hanner: Guthrie County has had established camping areas since the early 1970’s.
Camp Iowa: What are the main reasons that people choose to camp in Gutherie County, Iowa?
Hanner: The parks are scenic and associated with the Middle and South Raccoon Rivers, which are popular with the public.
Camp Iowa: What activities does each of the parks offer? Rentals? Programs?
Hanner:Nations Bridge Park offers camping for tents and RV’s with 50amp, 30amp, and 20amp service, hiking trail fishing, picnicking, showers, flush toilets, dump station, Frisbee golf course, Wireless Internet Service, and a playground. Lenon Mill Park offers camping for tents and RV’s with 50 amp, 30amp, and 20amp service, flush toilet, fishing, and picnicking. Both parks act as trail heads for the Middle/South Raccoon River Water Trail, which is extremely popular with canoeists and kayaks.
Camp Iowa: Can you bring your own firewood into the parks?
Hanner: At this time in-state firewood is allowed at Guthrie County Conservation parks. That may change in the future with the presence of the Emerald Ash Bore in Iowa.
Camp Iowa: When guests leave the parks for an outing, where do they usually go in the area?
Hanner: Guests of GCCB parks often utilize other GCCB areas, such as the Raccoon River Valley Trail, Middle/South Raccoon River Water Trail, Guthrie County Historical Village, and other conservation and recreation areas within Guthrie County.
Camp Iowa: Do you sell ice or any food stuffs in the parks? If not, how far to the nearest convenience stores?
Hanner: No, the city of Stuart is 5 miles south of Nations Bridge Park, Lenon Mill Park is located on the SW edge of Panora, Iowa. Both communities have convenience stores and amenities for park users to purchase products.
Camp Iowa: Do you offer any group camping sites?
Hanner: There are no formal group areas in either park. However, the bottom campground at Nations Bridge Park is managed uniquely. Groups of campers may pull in and park anywhere they want. They can circle up, park in a rectangle or park at any angle they choose. This is very popular with families and camping groups. Campers register their RV to the nearest local campsite marker.
Camp Iowa: How secluded are the campsites in Guthrie County?
Hanner: Nations Bridge Park and Lenon Mill Park campsites generally speaking standard sites with good access. There are no secluded campsites within both parks.
Camp Iowa: Can you make reservations for the campsites or are they on a first come – first served basis?
Hanner: Campsites are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Thursday nights are free camping in both parks.
Camp Iowa: If you could spend just 1 night camping in a Guthrie County campsite, which campsite would you choose – and why?
Hanner: For one night of camping I would camp at Lenon Mill Park because of the diversity of fish species such as Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Bluegill, Crappie, and Catfish that can be caught out of the Middle Raccoon River. In addition, the park is located approximately 7 blocks from the hardsurfaced 89 mile Raccoon River Valley Trail. If I was camping more than one night I would camp at Nations Bridge Park because of the availability of showers and still utilize areas such as Lenon Mill Park and the Raccoon River Valley Trail along with all the amenities that Nations Bridge Park offers.
2997 Wagon Road (Highway P28)
Stuart, IA 50250