VERMILION COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — It’s one of the busiest weekends of the year for campsites, and recent storms have meant extra work at Kickapoo State Park to prepare for it.
The campsite is booked solid for the weekend, but the hard work didn’t start Friday. The hail storm last week damaged cars at the campsite.
Workers say one camper lost a skylight and another had its awning blown away. Wednesday’s storm also damaged one of the shower houses and one of the shelters.
Kickapoo has been booked since January, but workers didn’t expect all the extra work five months later. Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. It includes the more than 150 groups of campers gathering at the site for the holiday.
“I grew up coming here. We came here multiple times a summer growing up,” said camper Jenna Houk.
Campground leaders have spent the last few days playing catchup after high winds from a storm left their mark.
“We make sure all the tree limbs and everything are cleaned up, there’s no garbage, the fire pits are clean and the yards are mowed,” said campsite host Julie Elliot.
Campers found their own way to use the debris.
“There were some loose limbs that we just kind of stack up by the tree and might use them for campfire, wood or something,” said Houk.
The possibility of more storms this weekend is something Houk is well aware of, but she says it’s nothing she can’t handle.
“I’m a little concerned about the weather. When you’re in a camper, it gets a little windy when the gusts come in,” said Houk. “I haven’t thought about it too much; I guess we would just load up in the car and try to drive somewhere safe.”
She and her family are mostly focused on the good times ahead.
“We’ve gone to Raccoon Lake before, but Kickapoo is one of our favorites because the size is nice and it’s not too crowded and the kids like to ride their bikes.”
If you want to camp at Kickapoo next Memorial Day weekend, you need to make a reservation soon. Site managers say they have a lot of people already reserving for next year. If you are camping this weekend, make sure to have a safe place to go if it storms.