DNR campgrounds will no longer take reservations year in advance

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Outdoor enthusiasts who struggle to find an open campsite in some of Minnesota's more sought-after state parks may soon get some relief.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is now changing how it handles reservations by getting rid of the ability to reserve campgrounds a year ahead of time.

“We hope this levels the playing field for everyone,” said Rachel Hopper, Visitor Services and Outreach Manager for the DNR.

Starting Wednesday, July 1st, the DNR will shrink its advanced reservation window down to just four months.

That means anyone who was planning to reserve a campsite for next year's Fourth of July holiday will now have to wait until March 2021 at the earliest. 

“Over three-quarters of our customers make reservations within that 120 days, but for our most desirable parks … those reservations are made over a year in advance,” Hopper said. “So the people who can't plan that far in advance don't have the ability to see those most precious places.”

Hopper added that this issue has been a frequent complaint over the years.

The department decided to make the change now since more families are seeking vacations closer to home during the pandemic.

The DNR says all reservations that have already been booked more than four months out will still be honored.