Kick-off to camping season - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Kick-off to camping season


Lake Wissota State Park (WQOW) - It's known as the unofficial kick-off to camping season and this Memorial Day weekend campers are off to the woods despite a few obstacles.

"Memorial Day weekend is a huge weekend for us, it's kind of the kick off of the camping season each year," says Lake Wissota Park property supervisor Scott Erickson.

For campgrounds like Lake Wissota State Park, booking sites begins almost a year in advance.

"Yeah 11 months.  If you want this weekend, you're doing it 11 months in advance," says camper Cheryl Mintner of Elkhart Lake.

Which means you can't plan for things like weather.

"You just deal with the weather, you bring sweatshirts and you make your campfire a little bit bigger and gas prices, well you don't have anything to do with that," says camper April Melichar of Manitowoc.

"We camp through it all.  We take the good with the bad.  We were just talking last night that nine years ago we had rain and sleet and snow at Memorial weekend," says Mintner.

This year may not be that brisk, but just in case, campers can stock up on firewood supplies on site.

"Firewood sales, I would think, would be really good.  We're going to have mid 40's temperatures.  Folks should come out and be prepared for that," says Erickson.

Another thing to prepare for is opening your pocketbook at the pump.

"Might cut back on soda or beverages or sometimes we go out to eat, we might not do that, but I never let gas prices discourage me," says Mintner.

"No, we have our camping trips already set and planned and hopefully they don't go too much higher, but you can't stay home because of gas prices," says Melichar.

Because camping still offers an affordable getaway.

"It's still a very inexpensive family vacation.  We've got our third, no fourth generation going on it now," says Mintner.

Passing on the tradition of a camper's optimism.

"Hope for the best, but expect the worst.  The motto of camping," says Mintner

This weekend park rangers warn campers near Lake Wissota to use caution.

High water levels have washed a lot of shoreline debris into the lake and could cause damage to your boat.

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