Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Guest Post: Planning Your RV Snowmobiling Trip

An RV snowmobiling trip is a great way to blow away the winter blues. Click to find out what you need to know to ensure a fun and stress-free trip.

5 Things to Consider Before Your RV Snowmobiling Trip
The groundhog predicted a long winter, which means there is plenty of time left to plan that snowmobiling trip in your RV! Snowmobiling is an exciting, fun way to chase off the winter blues, but you may want to keep a few things in mind before heading out.

1. Location, Location, Location
First, of course, you have to decide where your snowmobiling adventure will take place. There is certainly not a lack of options in the Great Lakes region, which boasts some of the top snowmobiling destinations in the United States. Some popular locations include the Northern Wisconsin, Minnesota Northwoods, and Western New York. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan in particular is “a major snowmobiling destination,” according to TripAdvisor, thanks to the Lake Effect snow that dumps over 200 inches of powder on some locations. They boast 3,000 miles of groomed trails with beautiful lake and nature views. Once you select your location, study the area to decide which trails you want to explore.

2. Pack Accordingly
Obviously, packing for a winter trip is quite different than equipping your RV for a summer destination. But we’re not just talking about packing your winter coat and a few hoodies. You will need the proper riding apparel to keep you warm and protected, including lightweight layers, a snowmobile suit, helmet, facemasks, eye protection, gloves, socks, and shoes. For a great variety of quality riding apparel, check out FXR snowmobile gear. You may also want to consider packing additional equipment, such as survival kits, shovels, a portable generator, and ice scratchers.

3. Check the Weather
Before you head out, make sure the conditions are optimal for both the drive to your destination and for snowmobiling. Saftey is key – make sure you aren’t driving into one of the area’s infamous winter storms. But at the same time, you want to be sure there is enough snow to ensure a fun and safe snowmobiling experience. You can do this by checking your destination’s trail conditions online.

4. Snowmobile Preparation
If you don’t already have a snowmobile, you will need to decide whether to rent or buy. There are pros and cons to both options. If it’s your first time, you may want to rent so you can see if it is something you will like. If you already own a snowmobile, be sure to do a safety check, making sure that everything, including brake, spark plugs, and lights are in working condition. You can find complete pre-ride checklists online.

5. Get to Know Your Snowmobile
If you are a first-timer, spend some time on the snowmobile before taking it on the trails. Make sure the seat and handlebars are in a comfortable position. Practice taking turns and riding on different types of snow and terrain, if possible. Become familiar with the throttle and the brake. You may even want to consider some official training or spending some time with an experienced rider.

Snowmobiling can be a great winter adventure to take on in your RV. By following these tips, you can make sure your trip is fun, safe, and stress-free.

Monday, March 2, 2015

New Camper Cabins Open at Fort Yargo near Winder, Georgia

Fort Yargo, one of Georgia’s most popular state parks, opened new camper cabins last month.

Located near Winder, these feature two bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen, television and screened porch. Outside you’ll find a picnic table and fire ring, and most have views of the park’s sparkling lake. Guests bring their own kitchen utensils and linens; however, linen service is available for an additional fee.  Dogs are welcome in two of the camper cabins.

Rates are $135, with an optional $30 linen fee and $45 pet fee. Fort Yargo is known for exceptional mountain bike trails, hiking, disc golf, a historic fort, fishing and other lake activities. The sandy beach is a great spot to cool off during summer.

Reservations are accepted 13 months in advance by calling 1-800-864-7275 or going to GeorgiaStateParks.org.

Located between Atlanta and Athens, this popular park features a 1792 log fort built by settlers for protection against Creek and Cherokee Indians.  Today, visitors come to Fort Yargo for its wide variety of outdoor recreation and scenery.  Mountain bikers and hikers can test their endurance on 18 miles of trails. A 260-acre lake offers a large swimming beach, fishing and boat ramps. The park’s wooded disc golf course is exceptionally challenging.

Fort Yargo State Park is a beautiful location for outdoor weddings, reunions and other celebrations.  Visitors have a choice of numerous facilities for all budgets, ranging from group shelters to lake-view pavilions. Overnight guests can choose from fully equipped cottages or cozy campsites.  For a more unique experience, visitors can reserve lakeside yurts, which are like canvas and wooden tents. Each yurt has furniture and electricity inside and a fire ring, picnic table and grill outside.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Advanced-RV videos: Articulating Twin Beds & New Shop Area

Advanced-RV recently delivered their first Class B Sprinter with articulating twin beds. Alvar's proud owner David talks about the process from start to finish.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Showcasing the Michigan DNR: Get hooked on fun, camaraderie of ice fishing

Fishing is a year-round activity and when the thermometer plunges below freezing in Michigan, most anglers have little choice but to hit the hard water. Ice fishing becomes the go-to activity until spring.

For beginning anglers, ice fishing offers one significant advantage: access. Boat-less anglers, who otherwise are limited to shorelines or fishing piers much of the year, can often access entire lakes. That inspires some anglers to proclaim that ice-fishing season is their favorite time of year.

Fortunately, ice fishing can be relatively simple. All that’s needed to start is a way to make a hole in the ice (an auger or spud), a way to clear the slush from it (an inexpensive scoop), and rudimentary equipment.

Seven-year-old Kori Draper is all smiles after catching a perch.
(DNR photos)
So how do you get started?

There’s a good opportunity every Saturday at noon at the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center in Cadillac holds on-the-ice fishing events.

Novice anglers often can find assistance nearby. Tom Goniea, a fisheries biologist at the Department of Natural Resources, says finding a mentor helps shorten the learning curve.

“Ask around,” Goniea said. “Ask the guys at work or the folks at church. Ice fishermen make up a community that’s usually quite willing to introduce others to the sport.

“And most ice fishermen have enough equipment that they can get you started if you go with them so you can see what you need.”

DNR fisheries biologist Christian LeSage agrees.

“There‘s a big social component to ice fishing,” he said. “When you get out on the ice people are usually friendly – they’re willing to tell you what they’re doing, what they’re using, and how they’re catching fish.”

Except for largemouth and smallmouth bass – bass season closes Jan. 1 and doesn’t completely reopen until the Saturday before Memorial Day – anglers who ice fish can pursue all species they target the rest of the year. Ice fishing can range from fishing for panfish on a farm pond to making miles-long sojourns on the Great Lakes in pursuit of walleyes, lake trout or other top-of-the-food-chain predators.

LeSage recommends people start with panfish. He likes bluegills.

A volunteer instructor shops a young angler how to use a
weight at an ice-fishing clinic at the DNR’s Carl T.
Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center.
“You can try it on a small pond in a park,” he said. “And you don’t need extravagant gear. If you go places where people have been fishing, you don’t even need an auger – you can reopen a hole with a hammer.

“Most veteran fishermen know that the best fishing is at dawn and dusk, but you can catch bluegills throughout the day. You can catch them in shallow water. You can catch a lot in a small area. And they’re delicious.”

What’s nicest about bluegills is that they can be found almost everywhere and, as fishing quarry, are relatively unsophisticated. All you need is a basic gear. Small fiberglass rods with simple, spring-tension spoons can be yours for less than $10 and you will see accomplished ice anglers using them. Add some light line, a few low-cost tear drops (small weighted hooks) and a container of insect larvae (wax worms or spikes, the early life stages of bee moths or flies, respectively) and you’re in business. Lower your bait to the bottom, begin slowly working it upward in the water column until you start getting bites, and then fish at that depth.

It can (and does) get much more complicated with expensive rods, sonar fish finders, and a plethora of other equipment. But many anglers never acquire all that gear and continue to enjoy productive bluegill fishing.

As you progress in the sport and explore other ice-fishing opportunities, the equation becomes decidedly more complex. Get addicted to walleye fishing and you’ll be into snowmobile or quad runners, insulated ice shanties, GPS, underwater cameras – the list is endless.

But some factors never change: The first rule of ice fishing is to be safe. 

John Zakrajsek, an assistant interpreter at William Mitchell
State Park, shows a youngster how to tie on a jig for ice fishing.
Good, strong ice can support a semi-truck, but every year there are tragedies that often involve recklessness. Make sure the ice is safe. Even arctic temperatures won’t guarantee it, especially if there’s an insulating layer of snow on top. You can get up-to-date info from bait shops around fishing locales, but always make sure yourself. Carry a spud to test the ice in front of you as you venture forth. Don’t approach ice that is discolored or has objects (such as vegetation or timber) protruding through it. Be especially careful of rivers (current can degrade ice quickly) or spring-fed lakes and ponds where warmer water can cause thin spots in an otherwise solid surface.

Always carry basic emergency gear, just in case. Ice picks (or homemade alternatives constructed of nails in dowels) will give you a way to get purchase on the ice should you break through. Carry a rope to toss to someone else who breaks through. 

It’s better – some would say mandatory – not to go alone. You certainly don’t want to head miles off shore – at Saginaw Bay, say, or Little Bay de Noc – without a partner. Always make sure someone knows where you are going and when you plan to return. Carry your cell phone.

Make sure you dress for the weather. Dress in layers from head to toe – the best way to keep your feet warm is to keep your head warm – and a waterproof outer layer is advisable. Small luxuries – such as extra gloves and hand warmers – often pay large dividends.

Ice fishing isn’t for everybody. But if you look around in the winter and see the huge shanty towns that spring up on some of Michigan’s best fishing lakes, it’s obvious that a lot of people are having a lot of fun out there.

It isn’t that difficult to become one of them.

For more information on ice fishing, visit the DNR’s website at www.michigan.gov/fishing.

Friday, February 27, 2015

RV Cooking Show video: BIG4 North Star Holiday Resort Tour - Hastings Point, NSW, Australia

This episode of the RV Cooking Show continues Evanne's trip to Australia. Tour the 5-star BIG4 North Star Holiday Resort & Caravan Park with the RV Cooking Show / 90daysdownunder crew and discover why this fab Aussie resort is the heart of the Tweed Coast. Some crew favs? Sammy's Adventure Lagoon Splash Park, adults-only Seascape Leisure Center, the very convenient en suite sites, and of course, the onsite and sensational Ripples Cafe. Hint, hint. Soon we'll be cooking with the Ripples Licensed Cafe chef Graham Terrey. Yes, it's delicious!

About The RV Cooking Show
The RV Cooking Show takes viewers on adventures to some of the most sought-after or interesting but little-known RV locations in the country and then creates a healthy, easy, delicious destination-related dish in host Evanne Schmarder’s RV kitchen. I strongly encourage you to visit The RV Cooking Show's website, follow them on Twitter (@RVCookingShow), like their Facebook page, subscribe to their YouTube Channel and follow the show's Pinterest boards, You can also keep up with Evanne on The RV Cooking Show's blog.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Discover winter camping with 20 rustic sites at Muskegon State Park

Winter Sports Complex offers recreational fun nearby for winter campers

Muskegon Winter Sports Complex
offers the only publicly accessible
luge track in North America. (DNR)
Muskegon State Park and the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex are pleased to announce that after 14 years without winter camping, the park will offer 20 rustic winter campsites this year. 

In 2013, park staff started using a word-of-mouth approach to test the frozen waters and encourage groups to try this venturesome winter activity. During that first year, the park offered winter camping to more than 10 camps (scouts, organizations and individuals). After that successful season, Muskegon State Park staff worked with Muskegon Winter Sports Complex Executive Director Jim Rudicil to gradually reintroduce rustic winter camping to the park.  

Winter camping at the park costs $18 per night for a 30-amp site and $20 per night for a 50-amp site. Rustic winter campsites can be used for tents, trailers or motorhomes. In addition to rustic winter campsites, Muskegon State Park also offers two mini-cabins and a yurt for a modern camping experience. Walk-in reservations are available from a phone located on-site, near the Lake Michigan Campground Office. Advance reservations can be made at www.midnrreservations.com or by calling 1-800-44-PARKS (1-800-447-2757).

With ice skating, cross-country skiing, luge,
sledding and snowshoeing, Muskegon Winter
Sports Complex is a great place for campers at
Muskegon State Park to enjoy a day of winter fun.
Despite the initial hesitation of some at the idea of camping in Michigan's cold and snowy months, Muskegon State Park lead worker Matt Schwemin assures visitors that it can be a worthwhile experience to brave the cold.

“Winter camping is not as absurd as many think,” said Schwemin. “With the right equipment and an adventurous attitude, it can be a really fun way to shake the winter blues.”

Muskegon State Park’s Lake Michigan Campground is located across the street from the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, which means that there’s plenty of nearby adventure for winter campers to enjoy during their stay at the park. 

Muskegon Winter Sports Complex visitors warm up indoors
between cross-country skiing, ice skating and other winter
activities at the facility.
The Winter Sports Complex, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, hosts the only publicly accessible luge track in North America. Other recreational offerings include more than 15 kilometers of ski trails (five miles of which are lit after dark), snowshoe trails, two acres of skating rinks, a sledding hill and an ice skating trail which is lit after dark. Equipment rentals are available, and visitors can also get a hot waffle and a cup of coffee or hot cocoa to warm up after enjoying the winter fun. The complex is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., weather permitting. 

Muskegon Winter Sports Complex also offers a variety of events throughout the winter.

For details about winter camping at Muskegon State Park, please call 231-744-3480. For more information on events and activities at the Winter Sports Complex, call 231-744-9629 or visit www.msports.org.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Technomadia video: Tales from Nomads

Enjoy this video from Chris Dunphy & Cherie Ve Ard of Technomadia.com, where they introduce us to Nancy & Betsy. After professional careers in the zoo and wildlife field, Nancy and Betsy wanted a big change in life - so they started learning about full time RVing. Since 2010, they've been traveling the country volunteering and camp hosting to supplement their investment income.

This is part of a series of interviews with other full time young-at-heart nomads & full time RVers - the entire series can be found at http://www.technomadia.com/ramblings.

About Technomadia
Technomadia is the "adventures and musings" of Chris Dunphy & Cherie Ve Ard. Perpetually on the road since 2006 embracing nomadic serendipity, the two are now traveling in a "geeked out vintage bus conversion" and working remotely as app developers, technology consultants and strategy advisors. The two have a great sense of humor and really know their stuff whether its technology, RVing and how to have fun.

Visit their website, follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and like their Facebook page.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

DNR’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program offers ‘Beyond BOW’ winter cabin/ski/snowshoe workshop

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program will offer a Beyond BOW winter cabin ski/snowshoe workshop for women. Scheduled for the weekend of March 6-8, 2015, the program is designed for women who have previous cross-country ski and snowshoe experience and would like to expand on their skills and abilities.

The workshop starts at 6 p.m. Friday, March 6, at Wilderness State Park, 903 Wilderness Park Drive, near Carp Lake, Michigan. Participants are asked to bring their own camping gear. See registration papers for more details.

"To participate in this Beyond BOW workshop, everyone must have solid previous experience with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing,” said Sharon Pitz, Becoming and Outdoors-Woman program coordinator. “The March workshop aims to help women expand on the skills they may have been taught at previous workshops – things like back-country cooking, reading and using maps and compasses, wilderness first aid, snowshoeing and skiing.”

The trip will include both days at Wilderness State Park. Participants should prepare to spend plenty of time outside. The cost for this event is $115 and includes lodging and some meals. Participants will stay in a rustic bunkhouse that will sleep up to 24 women in 12 sets of bunk beds.

Participants must be 18 or older. Enrollment is limited to 24 people and the registration deadline is Feb. 16.

Class information and registration materials are available online at www.michigan.gov/bow and registration can be paid online at www.michigan.gov/estore.

This Beyond BOW workshop is a rain, shine or snow event. For more information, contact Sharon Pitz at 906-228-6561 or pitzs@michigan.gov.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pennsylvania Twofer: Outdoors Video & New PCOA Website

Author's note: Today is a Pennsylvania twofer: The video above from visitPA.com showcases the Keystone state's abundant natural beuaty, and the release below announces the new user-friendly website from the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association.

Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association  (PCOA) has debuted its newly revamped website for consumers –www.pacamping.com – with the goal of providing a responsive, user friendly site that is useful to visitors looking to Pennsylvania as a destination, not only for camping but to experience the many recreational and cultural aspects available while camping.

Integration was a key factor in the design work on the new website. Working with designers and developers from Rochester-based Corporate Communications, Inc. and Franklin-based Brydan Corp, PCOA focused its efforts on providing a more positive user experience by expanding the “Find a Park” search options, improving overall website navigation, and ensuring the webpages were compatible and readable with all types of mobile devices. Links to PCOA’s social media pages on Facebook and Twitter have an improved look and presence on the website, which now also includes an events page, promotions pages featuring contests as well as special camping deals and enhanced area over view pages.  What’s more, descriptive pages for individual campgrounds and RV parks have much more detail, including links for users to connect with those parks’ own social media pages, videos, printed brochures and reservation sites, if available.

The new look and feel of the website embraces PCOA’s “Discover Your Outdoor Moments” brand identity for promoting travel and camping in Pennsylvania.  PCOA’s new website culminates a yearlong branding process.  The new website places campgrounds into 8 regional areas and will include still photography and high definition video from the newly carved out areas, creating a site that allows customers great flexibility in discovering their perfect vacation moments. From an operational standpoint, the new website allows PCOA staff more hands-on control of the website’s content management system (CMS), to ensure timely and accurate information updates to better serve website visitors.

“We invite the public to experience the new look and functionality of PCOA’s camping website at pacamping.com,” said PCOA President and Marketing Director Jason Vaughan. “We feel that both returning visitors and first-time users will appreciate the new look and function, and find the website to be a useful tool for discovering their outdoor moment.”

Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA), headquartered in New Tripoli, PA. and founded in 1963, is an association dedicated to support and promote our 230 + privately owned campgrounds in Pennsylvania. More information about the association and PCOA campgrounds – including a free camping directory – is available at www.pacamping.com and www.pacabinsandcottages.com.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rollin' On TV Video: Truma AquaGo feature

This video is about the new Truma "AquaGo" instant, endless hot water system for RVs. It's truly a system that works as it's suppose to.

About Rollin' on TV
Now in its fourth year of production, Rollin’ On TV has become a leading RV, lifestyle television program reaching over 30 million homes on both cable and satellite TV. The weekly program is also available online. For additional information and for times and days the show airs, visit  www.rollinontv.com

Saturday, February 21, 2015

GuestRated.com Announces ‘A’-Rated Parks

Only 34 out of about 4,000 campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across America received all around ‘A’ ratings in GuestRated.com consumer surveys completed in 2014.“If you do the math, that amounts to fewer than one in 100 campgrounds, RV parks and resorts receiving all around ‘A’ ratings in our consumer surveys,” said Bob MacKinnon, a former Disney Co. executive who founded GuestRated.com, an online rating system for public and privately owned and operated campgrounds.
Anaheim Resort RV Park
According to a press release, GuestRated.com solicits consumer feedback on 55 different guest satisfaction questions in addition to providing consumers the ability to post written comments and suggestions.
“We drill down to specifics with our surveys,” MacKinnon said. “For example, we ask, ‘How clean were the showers compared to the toilet areas? Was the bathroom well stocked with supplies? What was the attitude of staff? Did staff have a professional appearance? Were they quick and efficient? How would you rate the safety and security of the park?’ ”
Ultimately, MacKinnon said, GuestRated.com aims not only to provide consumers with meaningful reviews that can help them identify the best campgrounds, but provide campground operators with letter grades covering every aspect of their park so that they know where to prioritize their improvements and create a better guest experience.
Cross Creek Camping Resort
“Sometimes campgrounds have terrific facilities, but their staffing needs attention, or vice versa,” MacKinnon said. “Or maybe the park’s facilities and staffing are very good, but their reservation process needs attention. Our surveys help park operators zero in on the trouble spots that don’t show up in most online survey forms.”
In 2014, consumers filled out more than 30,000 surveys involving nearly 4,000 public and privately owned and operated campgrounds across the U.S.
But while the vast majority of the nation’s campgrounds do not receive overall “A” ratings, there are several across the country who have received overall “A” ratings several years in a row. Here is a listing of the latest “A” rated parks:

Friday, February 20, 2015

Dutchmen RVs debuts new website

Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. announced the launch of a newly designed innovative website at Dutchmen.com.

“The focus on the redesign of the site was to keep it clean and simple,” said Troy James, vice president of sales for Dutchmen. “Consumers desire a web experience that’s intuitive and a site that’s easy to navigate. We think our new website is all of that and more.”

The new site design was driven internally by Dutchmen’s sales and marketing department, with the intent to provide dealers with the latest in marketing tools and support to help further propel the Dutchmen product line sales. The “responsive design” functionality enables it to work on any device, from desktop computers and tablets to smart phones.

“We wanted to make everything the consumer needed just a click or two away within the new site,” stated James. The “Build Your Own” feature, “Find A Dealer”, “Customer Service,” and a brochure download link are all available on the homepage. And while ease of use was important to the Dutchmen team, selling the RV lifestyle was just as important.

“We’ve been building RVs for 27 years and have seen literally tens of thousands of people enjoy the benefits that our products bring to families,” James said. “By using great lifestyle shots and a rolling view of our product breadth, our intent was to make a direct connection between families and individuals enjoying the outdoors and our products which have helped enable that experience all of these years. We believe we’ve accomplished that with our new site, and we’re really looking forward to the response of our dealers and RV customers.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Michigan DNR seeks partners, sponsors for outdoor recreation

Volunteer and partnership opportunities, like this free
ice-fishing program at Sleepy Hollow State Park, are available
year-round at Michigan state parks. (DNR photo)
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources currently is seeking support from partners and sponsors for 2015 outdoor recreation events and initiatives.

Opportunities include volunteering as an instructor for various statewide campaigns, sponsoring statewide event campaigns, and donating to projects such as the Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit, according to a release issued by the DNR.

“Our goal is to build and maintain partnerships that are beneficial for everyone involved,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation chief. “Partnerships and sponsorships provide opportunities for our parks to welcome new visitors, for partner organizations to build their reputation and make connections with potential customers, and for visitors to make memories through outdoor recreation and programming.”

The Outdoor Adventure Center, nestled along the Detroit RiverWalk, offers several sponsorship opportunities, from exhibit and display sponsors to naming rights on the building. Groups, businesses and individuals interested in promoting stewardship and enjoyment of Michigan’s natural resources have an opportunity to inspire millions annually through this hands-on, urban educational facility.

Michigan state parks annually offer several statewide event series to introduce people to and build appreciation for Michigan’s woods and waters. In 2015, individuals, businesses and organizations can volunteer at state parks, trails and harbors for programs like Recreation 101, which offers free, introductory classes with all the equipment provided free of charge.

Also available are opportunities to sponsor or host events for a variety of statewide campaigns. Michigan Boating Week in June features water-related programs such as paddling, fishing, sailing and more. Meteors & S’mores is an annual celebration of astronomy that takes place during the Perseid Meteor Shower in August. Michigan Trails Week, which celebrates the state’s extensive land and water trail system, takes place in September.

Lynne Cavazos has partnered with the DNR since 2008 to coordinate the annual Beach Walk/Run at Charles Mears State Park to benefit Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters.

“This highly successful event would not be possible without the support of the DNR and Charles Mears State Park,” said Cavazos, who works as benefit coordinator for COVE. “It has been an amazing partnership. Together, we’re able to host a memorable event and raise funds to assist members of our community who are in need.”

Individuals also can join or start a Friends group to support a particular Michigan state park, harbor, trail or waterway. Friends groups support these facilities by fundraising, recruiting volunteers, leading restoration projects and providing educational programming for the public. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/dnrfriends.

Sponsoring or volunteering at a program is just one of many ways to support Michigan state parks. Partners also can post event flyers locally, donate to park projects, donate supplies and much more. If you or someone you know may be interested in partnering with Michigan state parks, please contact Maia Turek at 989-225-8573.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Improvements Make Pennsylvania State Park Online Reservation More Consumer-Friendly

State Conservation and Natural Resources Acting Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Feb. 4 announced that the department is upgrading its online system for Pennsylvania state park campsite, cabin and pavilion reservations.

"One of the key new features is the ability for customers to make a state park reservation on a mobile device," Dunn said. "Many people now seek information and make their travel plans on their smart phones and other devices. This upgrade fits nicely with Gov. Wolf's effort to highlight government that works, making it a better experience for our visitors to interact with DCNR when making plans to visit a state park."

The online reservation system was first launched in 2006.  This update includes:

  • Better campsite descriptions;
  • Easier site navigation;
  • An upgraded map view;
  • Mobile reservation capabilities;
  • Availability notifications;
  • A simpler check out process; and
  • Increased security.

Users can search for available campsites, picnic pavilions and other facilities on-line as well as make reservations at their convenience.

"Pennsylvania has 120 state parks that offer incredible activities to explore our rich legacy of forests, lakes, mountains, trails, wildlife and natural heritage," Dunn said. "With that many options there's something for everyone, and arranging an overnight stay is now even easier."

DCNR has a one-year contract within renewal options for an additional four years with ACTIVE Network™ for the cloud-based reservation system.

To make online reservations, park users should visit www.visitPAparks.com and click on "Reservations." On-line visitors can access the reservation system 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Visitors can charge reservations with their credit cards. Reservations can be made up to 11 months prior to a planned arrival date.

Park visitors also may call the toll-free number 1-888-PA-PARKS (888-727-2757) to receive information and make reservations.  This service is available Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for major holidays.

Pennsylvania's 120 state parks are open year round and attract about 38 million visitors a year.  They offer about 6,200 campsites; 300 cabins; 91 camping and deluxe cottages; and 34 yurts.

Pennsylvania state parks generate more than $1 billion in economic activity in nearby communities and support almost 13,000 related jobs.

For more information on state parks and forests in Pennsylvania visit the DCNR website at www.dcnr.state.pa.us.