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Minnesota DNR's online reservation do-over: So far, so good

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MINNEAPOLIS

So far, so good in today's opening minutes of Debut II of the state's new online system for reserving state camping and lodging facilities, which crashed three weeks ago under the weight of demand.

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"Reservations are coming in right now," said Patricia Arndt, spokeswoman for the Parks and Trails Division of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). "We are monitoring it, as you can imagine, very closely. It seems to be working well right now."

The system, operated by US eDirect of New York, had been tested ahead of its ill-fated March 1 start-up, but problems erupted when a large number of people tried to get in at the same time in the first moments.

The online reservation option had been offline since Dec. 27 while the "state-of-the-art" system from US eDirect, a new provider, was installed. The upgrade is being touted as more robust with more user-friendly features.

The do-over is being rolled out in stages, with reservations being accepted Thursday only for arrivals through April 21. Reservations made Friday through Sunday can only be made for arrivals through May 12.

The remaining schedule:

• Monday: Arrivals through June 2.

• March 27: Arrivals through June 30.

• March 28: Arrivals through July 21.

• March 29: Arrivals through Aug. 11.

• March 30, through April 1: Arrivals through Sept. 2.

• April 2: Arrivals up to a year in advance.

The state takes 90,000 to 95,000 reservations each year for about 3,500 campsites, camper cabins, tepees, guesthouses and lodges at its 75 parks. Up to 30 percent of the campsites in the parks and recreation areas can be rented only on a first-come, first-served basis.

Reservations can be made online at mndnr.gov/reservations or by calling 1 1 (800) 866-857-2757.

Operators are assisting callers today until midnight. From Friday to April 2, call center hours will be 8 a.m. to midnight. From April 3 to Oct. 31, calls will be taken 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily (except holidays).

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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