Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Rules change would allow hammocks at state camping sites

(Radio Iowa) - The Iowa Natural Resources Commission is amending its rules to allow hammocks to be used in state parks and camping areas. State Parks Bureau Chief, Todd Coffelt, says some people use hammocks for sleeping instead of a tent or camper.

"You still have to rent a site -- but if there are trees mature enough that can be used for banding your hammock to it -- then we want to provide that. It's just that there's care in doing that, getting it tied up there so that the tree isn't harmed," Coffelt says.

The proposed rules lay out how the hammocks are held up with straps and bands. You can not hammer nails or screw screws into trees to hold up your hammock. He says the use of hammocks depends on where you are.

"Not every park has the right height of tree to hold up a person like me, that I would be comfortable sleeping in," he says. "But it is different for everybody."

Coffelt says they also want to avoid having too many hammocks in one tree.

"If you can find two trees that are the right distance apart -- you're going to put a hammock up. Then you are going to start what I call the ladder effect where you have a hammock above a hammock, above a hammock. And we have to address that, because part of what we do is protecting the resource," according to Coffelt.

He says they are going to allow only two hammocks, or camping units together.

"You can't stack them six high. Nature just isn't built for everything we want it to do sometimes. We want to work with people and accommodate that as much as we can," Coffelt says.

Any interested person may submit comments concerning this proposed rulemaking. The DNR is taking comments on the proposed rule change. You should send comments no later than 4:30 p.m. on June 2nd. Comments should be directed to: Sherry.Arntzen@dnr.iowa.gov. There will be a conference call public hearing at 10 a.m. on June 2nd.

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