There are big changes at hand for the Michigan State Park reservation system which promise to make the process of finding campsites and other accommodations easier.
Beginning on Nov. 1, the new system at www.midnrreservations.com will replace the current system and along with being able to make a reservation at a park of your choice, it was announced that users will now be able to view each individual campsite.
During the transition, from Oct. 22 - 31, the current site will be off line and reservations will have to be made through the call center at (800) 44-PARKS (447-2757).
“With the existing reservation system website, customers read descriptive text about the campsite to determine if it’s sunny, shady, flat or elevated,” said Christa Sturtevant-Good, DNR central reservation system liaison. “While text descriptions will remain, altered slightly to an easier-to-read format, campers can also look at between one to three photos of every site, and then visually decide if that campsite has all the features they’re looking for.”
The new reservation system, being operated for the DNR by Camis, USA, Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mi, will go well beyond what users have come to experience in the past. With an entirely new layout and multiple ways to search for available accommodations at state parks, the new system promises to make things much easier for users. Camis also has implemented a similar system for State Parks in Washington State and by viewing this site users can get a preview of what the Michigan site will be like.
In the past, a user would select a park from a drop down list on the reservation page and then move through a series of questions regarding length of stay, type of gear to be used and number of individuals camping. It was not until these variables were chosen could a user actually see what if any sites were available to be reserved.
According to Denise Gruben, manager of the DNR's Licensing and Reservations, there will be multiple ways that users will be able to select a park to make reservations at.
"The will be able to choose parks via an interactive map, a list or even by calendar date which then shows each of the parks," Gruben said."Once you select a park, you can then see which sites are available, view a photos of the individual sites and then make the reservation if it meets your needs. As in the past, reservations will be able to be set for up to one year in advance."
Also new will be the way registering at a state park will be handled in the off season, from mid September to late May or when there is no one at the reservation station. As it is now, a camper picks a site, fills out a registration form and drops it along with a payment into a secure container at the registration station.
"With the new system, there will be a telephone at the registration station that will connect directly to the reservation center until 8 p.m.," Gruben said. "Users will pick out an empty campsite they would like and then use the phone to register and pay for the site with either a credit or debit card. In this way sites that may have been reserved will not be occupied and cash or a check will not be needed. After 8 p.m. when the call center is closed, it will be back to the old way of doing things by filling out a form and depositing payment.".
Gruben added that there will also be a new mobile site for users of smart phones where they will be able to make reservations.
"The new mobile site is optimized for smart phones and though it will not have some of the bells and whistles that the full site has, it will be very user friendly," Gruber said. "Users will be able to search for parks, make reservations and pay all through their mobile deice."
One thing that is not changing is the $8 service charge for making a reservation.
"Whether a user is making their reservations via the full or mobile site the service charge will be added as it has been in the past," Gruben said.
For those using the direct line at a park, there will be no added charges and the $8 fee is added only for the reservation, regardless of length, she added.
For more information on the changes go to the DNR website, A New and Improved Campground Reservation System is Launching on November 1st.
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