ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s new park reservation system is about to resume taking some camping and lodging reservations after crashing nearly three weeks ago following its launch, the state Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday.
The system will be operating again starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, the DNR said.
An unexpected flood of reservations caused the system to crash soon after its March 1 launch, leaving campers unable to book sites in the popular park system. The DNR said the system was overwhelmed with 4,500 hits in its first hour. Officials had expected it to take 4,500 reservations in a day.
The system only had taken about 60 reservations before it crashed.
Upgrades have been made, but reservations will be limited to specific dates during the initial eight-day rollout to avoid another rush. On Thursday, reservations will be accepted for arrival dates through April 21. And on Friday, they will be accepted for arrival dates through May 12.
Next week’s reservation schedule, as well as other information, can be found at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us .
The DNR said it’s taking a conservative approach so the system is not overloaded and all customers can have an equal chance to make reservations.
“We hope this phased-in rollout of the new reservation system will allow us to work through the backlog that currently exists in an orderly way to ensure the best possible customer experience,” Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division, said in a news release. “Everyone will have a fair shot at the campsites and cabins that are still available.”
The DNR is asking customers who are not making reservations for arrival before May 12 to wait until this weekend to log into the system. That will help reduce a potential overload on the system during its first two days, the agency said.
The department also said it has been working closely with the new reservation system vendor, US eDirect, to resolve capacity problems with the online system. The agency asked the state Office of Enterprise Technology, which oversees all state technology, to confirm the reservation site’s readiness.
Customers can help by being prepared and by visiting the DNR’s website to check availability for campsites and lodging, the agency said.
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