MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Summers are short in Minnesota, so the Department of Natural Resources wants to make sure residents can make the most of it.

“We fill up quickly, and with this great, warm weather we’re going to see a lot of reservations coming in,” Erika Rivers, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trials Division, said. “We anticipate this weekend and the coming weeks as people make their summer plans.”

The DNR announced a new, 100 percent reservation program for state parks that will roll out across the state in May.

That means every campsite will be available to reserve in advance.

“This is really about serving our customers better,” Rivers said.

She says the DNR is excited to offer campers more flexibility, convenience and predictability.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“People are really busy right now,” Rivers said. “We think that this change will make it easier for people to make their summer plans that will have that flexibility and that convenience that has been lacking in the previous system.”

Camper Michelle Sickmann calls the new system “amazing.”

“Usually you try to get sites reserved, and a lot of times all the ones that are available are already gone,” Sickmann said. “So you end up just kind of going first-come-first-served, and it’s always a risk.”

Pat Arndt, communications and outreach manager for the DNR, says the change is part of a national trend.

“We’ve seen it occurring across the nation, and we actually piloted this in 2014 and 2015 just to see how people were going to react,” Arndt said. “And the reaction from the public was overwhelmingly positive, and our staff as well. So we decided it was time to take it and spread it across the entire system.”

Same-day reservations are still available for the spontaneous.

“You can show up at the park on the same day, and if there’s a site available, you can just reserve the site right on the spot,” Arndt said.

Click here to reserve your site. And the DNR has optimized their site to work on smartphones and tablets.

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