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Campgrounds expanding after big turn out during pandemic

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Campgrounds around the Tri-States were packed Independence Day weekend as families try to find a way to get out and have fun amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

That included campgrounds that have just gotten their business off the ground.

Campers said it's a good alternative to state parks which they say are hard to book online.

"To reserve a spot you have to go online and we found that a lot of people especially for the Fourth of July weekend were already ready to go and prepare to come to the lake. So we're excited about having finding an opening at the meadow and being able to bring our family to an outdoor and experience close to home," camper Jessica Armour said.

Managers at the Meadow Campground near New London said both their cabins and their tent camping areas have been full with people like Armour and her family who have been looking to find outdoor recreation.

"With the Salt River up we're just enjoying some good time camping and having fun with friends around the campground," said Armour.

Campground manager Lydia McDonald said it's been shocking how fast business picked up since they opened a month ago.

"We've been pretty busy, we've been kind of blown away by how many people have come by and you know camped out in our cabins or in the tent sites," McDonald said.

She said they're even adding RV camping in the coming weeks.

"For the majority of people it's like staycations from people from Hannibal from Quincy, even just down the road in New London so kind of from all over," McDonald said.

Armour said she's glad to have an option close to home in New London.

"Just to be able to be in Ralls County and have our kids with us to know that they can get out and play and interact with nature is super important because we feel like we've been closed in for a little while," Armour said.

Campground officials said with the Salt River up right now, they have had less people taking the kayaking trips they offer at this time.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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