Minnesota Reservation System Shutdown Hits 20th Day

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March 20, 2012 by   - () Leave a Comment

An electronic double whammy that has shut down the Minnesota State Parks registration system is making for some unhappy campers.

“We’re sorry that this has been frustrating for people. We’re working as fast as we can to get the system back in operation,” Minnesota Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chris Niskanen said.

He said an announcement is expected today regarding a return to operation of the DNR’s new online system that went down March 1, the Mankato Free Press reported.

Niskanen said the DNR hopes people can resume booking 2012 reservations this week following the visitor overload that crashed the organization’s new system.

What’s more, making reservations by phone also has ceased because the DNR’s call center runs off the same system as the reservation website.

“Part of the problem right now is that if we opened up the call center, it would be completely overwhelmed,” Niskanen said.

The DNR’s registration system actually has been down two months in total because the old website had to be shuttered for data to be transferred from one vendor to the other.

DNR officials said it changed its reservation website because the contract with the previous vendor expired in December.

The new system was pretested, but the vendor planned for 4,500 visits a day and it lacked the capacity for the several thousand visits it received in the first hour of operation.

When the system becomes fully operational, Niskanen said, the new website will have features such as photos of most campsites, calendars showing available sites at a park for three weeks at a time, and advanced search options that allow users to enter specified desired campsite criteria and see options at a glance.

He acknowledged that can’t come soon enough for people antsy about booking their reservations.

“People are getting a little anxious, and they’re letting us know about it on Facebook.”

One person on the DNR’s Facebook page recently posted, “Why was the reservation system changed? It wasn’t broke, but it appears to be broke now.”

Another poster said he’s running out of patience, another expressed frustration, and another wrote that she’ll be taking her business elsewhere:

“Booked my Labor Day camping trip at Madeline Island in Wisconsin. This is beyond ridiculous.”

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