After a major outcry over changes in how California state park campsites are reserved, the California State Parks Department is changing course, according to Travel & Leisure and reported by Woodall’s Campground Management.
Last August, the state launched a new website called reservecalifornia.com, where campers would go to book campsites. Previously, the California State Parks Department had used reserveamerica.com — the same website used by most other states — to handle its reservations.
Under the old system, campsites would open up for reservations at 8 a.m. on the first of the month, six months in advance. For example, reservations would open on Feb. 1 for all dates in August.
On reservecalifornia.com it was a little different. Campsites were open to book exactly six months in advance — so Feb. 11 for Aug. 11, Feb. 12 for Aug. 12, and so on. But campers found that the website also allowed people to extend existing reservations, which meant that someone hoping to reserve a campsite would find all the sites were already booked before he or she even had a shot at snagging a site.
Many campers had problems with the new system. When the TV station KSBY covered the change, the story’s comments were flooded with people reporting problems.
Due to the complaints, the parks department is making changes. Now, campers can only modify their existing reservation twice, which is meant to prevent people from continuously extending reservations. Prior to the new policy, visitors with existing reservations were able to modify their reservation anytime prior to the 8 a.m. open window up to the maximum stay limit of that park
The changes are meant to make California’s state park reservation system more user-friendly, and allow more people to access the 13,000 campsites available on the reservation system.