ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s relaunch of a troubled campground reservations system for state parks went smoothly Thursday, officials said.

The system crashed shortly after launching March 1, when it was overwhelmed with 4,500 hits in its first hour. Officials had expected to take 4,500 reservations in the entire day.

On Thursday, it averaged only about 100 to 130 visitors an hour for the first few hours, said Courtland Nelson, director of the Parks and Trails Division of the Department of Natural Resources, who told reporters he was “quietly pleased.”

Users created about 400 new accounts and made a little over 125 reservations by mid-afternoon, and the system never reached capacity, he said.

The system vendor, US eDirect, added capacity after the initial launch failed. Also, when it reaches its limit, users will get a message saying to try back in a few minutes to ensure that users already logged in won’t be interrupted, said Sanjay Jain, CEO of US eDirect.

Under the DNR’s phased relaunch plan, reservations were accepted Thursday for arrival dates through April 21. From Friday through Sunday, they will be accepted through May 12. A bigger test will come Monday when sites can be reserved through the Memorial Day weekend, Nelson said. More dates will be added through April 2, when system will start taking reservations for a year in advance.

Bill Anderson, the DNR’s project manager, said he’s confident the system will be able to handle the traffic.

The new system adds features the old system lacked, including the ability to let campers view pictures of individual campsites before selecting them.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  1. Snowy says:

    Only the DNR could be pleased with the cluster-flub that has been this “update”. The system was down for four months and when it finally made it back online it proved to be, in many way, inferior to the old system. How about bringing back the ability to check site availability?

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