Pella Chronicle

Local News

November 19, 2012

Ask the Corps

Pella — With all of the recreation opportunities that Red Rock offers, the lake’s 50,000 acres of public land and waters might be considered the largest “playground” in the state!

During 2012, over 4.6 million visitor hours were tracked at Corps-managed parks.  A “visitor hour” equals a visitor spending an hour of time at the lake.

In the Corps campgrounds, over 34,416 “camper nights” (campsite rentals per night) were tracked.  This is an increase over 2011’s total of 32,504 nights.  When county and state campgrounds are added, the total number of nights is well over 40,000.  If camper nights were converted to hotel room nights, lake visitors could fill a 110-room hotel 100% full for a year!

In addition to Red Rock area campgrounds, Cordova County Park offers seven cabins for year-round rental.  The cabins are occupied about 1,100 nights each year - an average of 157 nights a year per cabin.  Due to their popularity, the cabins are occupied almost 100% for all weekends year-round.

Many visitors come out to the lake just for the day, and fishermen are a prime group of lake users.  Approximately 108,000 people fished at the lake last year.  The Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimates that each fishing trip has an economic impact of $45.  

Boaters are another large, significant user group.  Park Rangers count vehicles at all of Lake Red Rock’s boat ramps each summer weekend, and a total of over 8,700 vehicles used the ramps last season.  The lake area offers about 550 parking spaces in all of its ramp lots, and it’s not uncommon for all spaces to be full (and lots overflowing) on busy weekends.  On those warm summer days when the lots are full, there can easily be 2,000 people on the lake at one time.

Corps rangers offer year-round program opportunities to schools, scout troops, civic organizations and other groups.  Hikes, geocaching programs, history talks, and other activities are also offered for the general public.  Last year, over 200 programs were offered on site at the lake for over 5,000 participants.  

Lake area parks often host special events such as car shows, weddings, triathlons, family reunions, school programs, church services and other activities.  Thirty-five events were held in Corps-managed parks last year with about 11,500 people in attendance.

The Corps offers seventeen picnic shelters for group functions, school activities, club outings or for leisurely picnics with family and friends.  Nine of the shelters are reservable through the Corps office.  During last season, 231 reservations were made with about 14,000 people in attendance.

Consider Lake Red Rock for your next adventure!  For more information about picnic shelter reservations, camping, public programs, or other questions, contact the Corps of Engineers at (641) 828-7522 or (641) 628-8690 or via email at

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