Government and Travel & Tourism

Campers scout photos of Michigan park sites

October 21, 2013
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Getting a prime camping spot at one of Michigan’s parks will be easier next month.

Photos

Beginning on Nov. 3, state park campers will be able to view one or more photos of each campsite prior to booking their reservations.

The feature is part of the new central reservation system for the state Department of Natural Resources.

Previously, campers had to rely on written descriptions of campsites when booking their trips.

“With the existing reservation system website, customers read descriptive text about the campsite to determine if it's sunny, shady, flat or elevated," said Christa Sturtevant-Good, DNR central reservation system liaison. "While text descriptions will remain — altered slightly to an easier-to-read format — campers can also look at between one to three photos of every site and then visually decide if that campsite has all the features they're looking for."

The photos will be shown as small thumbnail images, which, when clicked on, open to a larger size in a new window.

"In this way, viewers can see the site up close," said Anna Sylvester, DNR Parks and Recreation field operations chief for northern Michigan. "Often, campers wonder where the fire pit or electrical box is located on the site, but they can't tell this just by reading text. These features are shown in most photos, allowing campers to determine if the location of campsite elements will meet their camping needs."

The addition of campsite and lodging photos is a customer-driven enhancement in the new CRS by Camis USA, which has a call center in Ann Arbor and servers in Southfield.

Reservation system transition

Reservations through the website, midnrreservations.com, will be possible until tomorrow at 8 p.m., when the website will taken down to begin the transition process to the new website. The web address will not change.

During the transition phase to the new CRS, customers can continue to make reservations through Oct. 30, using the call center.

More details on reservations during the transition are below.

  • Oct. 31: Reservations cannot be made. State parks can register walk-ins on a first come, first-served basis.
  • Nov. 1: The new CRS system, both the website and the call center, opens to state park lodging, which typically has a one-year reservation window (camper cabins, mini-cabins, rustic cabins, yurts and modern lodges). Reservations for these facilities can now be made for dates after Oct. 31, 2013. From Nov. 1-2, campsites and slips are not reservable. During this time, campsites and slips are available at the facility on a firstcome, first-served basis.
  • Nov. 3: The system opens to facilities with a six-month reservation window. These include campsites at state parks and select state forest campgrounds and harbor slips.

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