Thoughts on "New and Improved" Recreation.gov

Discussion in 'Reservation Systems' started by kcsa75, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

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    For those that don't know Recreation.gov (this reservation site for federal facilities) made significant changes that became effective this past weekend. The site went live on Friday, Oct. 5. I was poking around this afternoon and I think they still have some work to do.

    We had a reservation at a COE campground this past weekend that we needed to cancel because of the weather. In the end, I think everything is going to work out OK. But the site was inaccessible to the public, campgrounds and Recreation.gov customer service the previous five days which created more than a little angst.

    Just curious if anybody has taken a look and had any thoughts. [:)C]
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  2. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    I just looked at it, seems like they're still working on it. We don't have any upcoming reservations, but it does show our past ones. It will take a bit of getting used to, and I won't make a reservation for next year for another month or so.
     
  3. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member

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    Recently heard Wisconsin is switching from Reserve America to Camis... hopefully this will be a positive change for us!
     
  4. Balthisar

    Balthisar Active Member

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    I've never booked with Reserve America, much Michigan DNR uses Camis, and it works pretty well. It's ugly to look at, but that might be MDNR's fault. It works brilliantly, though.
     
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  5. Dudman5703

    Dudman5703 Jeep Guy

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    As someone who works with websites and such... It can take a bit of development work and lots of "deciding" between people. Give it a few...
     
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  6. JustRelax

    JustRelax Active Member

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    Indiana uses reserve america but has it's own website and it looks the same to me fortunately. I've always thought ours works pretty well.
     
  7. David Blackwell

    David Blackwell Member

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  8. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Just checked it out. The search seems to work the same, I can put in a campground or town and get all campgrounds in the area. I like that the campsite photos (when available) are big enough to see without having to click on them. If the campground maps work similarly, I think it will be fine.

    California State Parks went from reserveamerica to their own system. It is still very cumbersome as you have to go the state parks website to find parks with campgrounds. Then you have to select the campground or loop you want, and THEN you can select a site. If you don't already know the campgrounds/loops, this means you have to go back and forth between two websites to select your site. I do a lot of checking out sites before I select the first time, so this is not real user friendly. Once I've stayed at the campground and have identified my preferred site(s), it'd be fine for me.
     
  9. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    Because we all know the State of Taxifornia is so good at administrating things on their own. How's that high-speed train thing going. [:O)][LOL][LOL][LOL]
     
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  10. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for not using the usual Kalifornia - that gets so annoying.

    I think the problem was more trying to make a quick "improvement" after the scandals and not making the time for research and development. They fast tracked by using the current website as their base for the new reservation system. But the website is not effective for that. And they were focused on the interface between the reservations and the individual campgrounds.

    One thing to remember is that California's park system is so much more extensive than other states. A few have more park lands, or more individual park units, or more visitors, etc., but California is the only state that is in the top 10 for most categories (may be in the top 5 for most, but I can't remember for sure). In addition, our park lands are the most varied geologically and in usage.
     
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  11. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    Florida State Parks site changed recently and I can't stand the new one. It's bulky and awkward. The previous site was much more user friendly. Now it takes me 3 steps to do what I could do in 1 step before.
     
  12. tdiller

    tdiller Active Member

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    Just checked it out with two campgrounds we use that I know are seldom full. Both Blanding Landing and Thompson Causeway in Illinois show no sites available through all of next year. I know that's not right.
     
  13. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

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    If you are trying to make a reservation for 2019, it could be the reservation window is not open yet. I know the COE campgrounds in our area are pretty much closed for the year and we won't be able to make reservations for 2019 until January.

    Since my original post, I've been checking Recreation.gov every few days and more features are being added. Because of the new format things have moved around and I think it's going to take some getting used to. [:)C]
     
  14. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    It looks like they are keeping the old features, just updating and adding new. It may be to create a better interface with the agencies.
     
  15. Nani2

    Nani2 Active Member

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    The COE campgrounds we like are on the system and I used to be able to search by site number list
    or a map showing available sites. You could click on the map for various sites and get info and pictures . I'm not able to find this on new site. Like Orchid said, it takes longer to book.
    Before change I could also go into my account and pull up reservation and search for cancelled sites now available for my dates . I cannot find this feature any more.
    Not seeing progress here .
     
  16. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    They haven't added the maps back in yet, but they state that they will be added back in.

    I suspect the other features will be added back in once the maps are.

    Just give them a bit of time to get everything back up and running and I think you'll be fine.
     
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  17. JustRelax

    JustRelax Active Member

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    When do reservations open back up for these parks? It might be FCFS through April and if there is a 6 month booking window May isn't open yet.
     
  18. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    I looked up Thompson Causeway and there is the following alert:

    • Due to rising river levels, the Thomson Causeway will be closed starting Friday, October 12. A reopen date has not yet been determined. All reservations have been cancelled from Friday, October 12 through Wednesday, October 17. We will evaluate river levels daily to see if additional cancellations are needed. For further updates on park closures, please visit our website at http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/Missi...er-Project/Recreation/Recreation-Area-Status/ or call the Thomson Ranger Office at 815-259-3628.

    So that is why nothing is showing available - because they are not taking any reservations until they get a handle on the rising water levels.
     
  19. JustRelax

    JustRelax Active Member

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    That shouldn’t have any effect for reservations 6 months out online though.
     
  20. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    It will if they don't input an "open date" into the system. Without an "open date" being inputted, the system won't have a date to identify as "available".
     

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