Oops! Reservation System Crashes on Opening Day
Minnesota’s brand-spanking-new reservation system for campgrounds and cabins went live at 8 a.m. Thursday (March 1).
And promptly crashed.
As of 8 p.m., the system – mndnr.gov/reservations – remained down, redirected to a state Department of Natural Resources FAQ page, while DNR officials and an outside contractor tried to figure out what the issue was, the Pioneer Press reported.
“Within the first hour, we became aware that customers were having trouble getting online and also into the call center,” said Amy Barrett, spokeswoman for the DNR’s parks and trails division. “By midmorning, we decided it was better to take the whole thing down.”
She described the problem as “technical” and said no one knew how long it would take to get the system back up and running. She said she hoped it would be back up Thursday.
The new reservation system is run through a contract with New York-based US eDirect, one of two firms that bid on the rights to handle reservations for campsites and cabins.
While the new system was being installed, reservations were only available through the end of March and only by calling the state park. Barrett said park officials used the system to enter those reservations, and it worked fine.
The DNR has touted the new system as being more convenient and up-to-date with what users have come to expect online. For example, pictures of most campsites are available, and one can view a three-week window of availability for campsites.
By contrast, the old system offered only a primitive map of a campground, and as far as availability, users had to keep plugging in different dates, over and over.
“We’re sorry that we’re unable to show people this today,” Barrett said Thursday.