|LANSING,Mich. — According to a press release the new, improved central reservation system (CRS) that manages state park camping, lodging and harbor reservations will launch in November with minimal customer disruptions during the system transition, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced September 17.The new system, which features customer-requested enhancements, opens Nov. 1 to state park lodging reservations (camper cabins, mini-cabins, rustic cabins, yurts and modern lodges), which typically have a one-year reservation window.
The DNR Parks and Recreation Division contracts with Camis USA, Inc., to provide the reservation system, including a call center in Ann Arbor, Mich., and servers in Southfield, Mich. The previous contractor’s term expired and Camis was selected through a bidding process.
“We are pleased to offer our outdoor customers the most up-to-date technology to make their reservations at state parks, recreation areas and harbors,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division.
On Nov. 3, the system opens to facilities with a six-month reservation window. These include campsites at state parks and select state forest campgrounds and slips at state harbors. During the short transition period, Nov. 1-2, campsites are not reservable. For stays with an arrival of Nov. 1 or 2, campsites will be available at parks on a first-come, first-served basis.
“As we approach Nov. 1, customers will be mildly affected by the system changeover,” said Christa Sturtevant-Good, DNR central reservation system liaison. “There will be some down time on the reservation website for approximately a week while we’re switching to the new application, but we will keep updates available as the new system is implemented. These reservation enhancements, many of which were requested by our customers, will improve overall camper and boater experiences.”
During the transition phase, system updates are available by visiting the DNR website www.michigan.gov/stateparks and clicking on A New and Improved Campground Reservation System is Launching on November 1st.
Customers can expect many enhancements when making reservations in November. Online improvements include the ability to search by region, check availability at more than one park at a time, view photos of each campsite prior to making a selection, and more. Customers will also navigate through fewer screens prior to making a reservation.
Seasonal availability needs are also addressed with the new system. Regardless of the season, customers can make site-specific reservations for available campsites and lodging at open parks. Convenient registration during the shoulder season (September through May) is also part of the new system.
“Park staff can be limited within the shoulder season due to reduced staffing levels, maintenance and other operational needs typically handled during this time,” said Jason Fleming, DNR parks and recreation operations unit manager. “It’s also the time of year when campers are more likely to check availability right at the park rather than by making reservations. To address this customer need, we’re implementing a registration phone station right at the park.”
This registration station, available by the campground office during the shoulder season, includes a “yellow phone” that automatically contacts the Ann Arbor call center when the receiver is lifted. Campers can conveniently register right there, without staff present, and then continue on to their campsite or lodging.
“We’ve spent a great deal of time listening to the many suggestions offered by our customers on ways to make our reservation system more user-friendly and practical,” said Denise Gruben, DNR reservation system contact manager. “In November, many of those suggestions will be implemented, creating a quality product that will greatly enhance our customers’ experiences.”
Camping and harbor reservations can currently be made for stay dates through Oct. 31. When transitioned to the new system, the reservation phone number and website address will remain the same. Call 1-800-44-PARKS or visit www.midnrreservations.com to make reservations.