Potato Creek State Park seeing more crowds despite drought

When it's hot enough to turn green grass brown, Kevin Kaurich plays in the shade.

"It's been a little rough, but we've braved it and still had fun, you know? Kind of rolled with the punches," Kaurich said.

He took part in a family reuniion this weekend at Potato Creek State Park. Despite the extreme weather, his family was still able to celebrate age-old traditions.

"They haven't put any restrictions on campfires," Kaurich said.

The park has seen some changes during this summer's drought. Entire meadows have turned brown, and the beach front is a little more popular. More people however, means extra precautions.

"We have security that keeps an eye on the fires, we have gravel around the fire rings, and water stations very close, and a park fire truck on standby too," Alex Degroot, assistant property manager, said.

Something as simple as having a hot car's muffler over tall grass can spark a fire, he said.

Dangerous conditions havent kept crowds from coming. The park is on pace to exceed last year's attendance numbers. The heat has helped keep the bugs away, and boat rentals are fairly cheap.

"Selling out before Memorial Day isn't routine," DeGroot said. "We were doing that for a number of weekends."

He's hoping the increase of people will continue throughout the summer, and said recent rainfall is helping some.

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