Michigan DNR: New state park and harbor reservation system offers broad search capabilities

Visitors to Michigan state parks and harbors will soon experience a new, improved Central Reservation System (CRS) that offers broad search capabilities, giving campers and boaters an option to search for available campsites, lodging or slips by region (and more) rather than by just a specific park or harbor, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced recently.

The DNR is currently transitioning to the improved Central Reservation System, which includes many customer-driven improvements like the regional search feature. The new system becomes active in early November.

“Many customers requested this enhancement and we delivered,” said Denise Gruben, DNR licensing and reservations manager. “Once we transition to the new system, customers will be able to view all parks and harbors available during a specified time period simply by choosing dates and then selecting a region of the state.”

After entering equipment type and size, visitors can further filter campgrounds by electrical hookup, sewer hookup, pull-through, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility and pet-free sites. Harbor slips will be filtered by equipment type, length, draft and width. Once this is entered, visitors have three options for searching: clickable map divided by three regions - north, central and south; list or calendar. Color-coded symbols reside next to each park or slip name, indicating whether the park or harbor meets specified dates and search criteria. If it does, visitors can choose a site or slip from a facility and reserve it.

“It’s a very intuitive process,” Gruben added. “The website is designed to be easily navigable for a more enjoyable experience. In fact, customers reserving through the website will also be able to view one or more photos of every campsite or lodging facility before actually reserving it.”

The DNR contracts with Camis USA, Inc., to provide the reservation system, including a call center in Ann Arbor, Mich. and servers in Southfield, Mich. The new reservation system becomes active in early November, with important transitions taking place as the activation approaches.

During the transition phase to the new CRS, customers can continue to make reservations through Oct. 30 using the call center. The phone number, 1-800-44-PARKS, will remain unchanged. Reservations through the website, www.midnrreservations.com, will be possible until Oct. 22 at 8 p.m., when the website will be taken down to begin the transition process to the new website. The address will not change.

Important transition dates include:
  • Oct. 22-31: Website reservations cannot be made. The call center will remain active through Oct. 30, taking reservations for dates through Oct. 31, 2013.
  • Oct. 25: The new reservation website goes live. Although reservations cannot yet be made on the website, customer profiles can be created and viewers can navigate the site to create familiarity.
  • Oct. 31: Reservations cannot be made. Parks can register walk-ins on a first-come, first-serve 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 first-come, 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. Reservations can be made for these sites and slips for dates after Oct. 31, 2013.

During the transition phase, updates and CRS-related press releases are available by visiting the DNR website www.michigan.gov/stateparks and clicking on A New and Improved Campground Reservation System is Launching on November 1st.