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Minnesota Park Reservation System on the Fritz

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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, according to a report by the Mankato Free Press.

“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 (DNR) spokesman Chris Niskanen said.

He reported an announcement is expected today (March 20) regarding a return to operation of the DNR’s new online system that went down March 1. 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.”

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