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Minnesota DNR shortens window in which campers can make reservations

The DNR says this will make things more equitable.

If you're looking to reserve camping or lodging through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, your window to do so will be shorter, giving more people the opportunity to stay in the state's natural areas. 

The Minnesota DNR previously allowed people to reserve campsites, cabins, yurts, tipis and other lodging up to a year in advance. But the DNR said in a news release Monday it is shortening that, so people can make reservations up to four months (120 days) before their stay. 

This new rule will go into effect for reservations made on or after July 1 of this year. Any reservations already made are not affected by this change, the release said.

Making things more equitable

“State Parks and Recreation Areas belong to all Minnesotans, so everyone should have equitable access to facilities and campgrounds,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said in the release. “As our lives have become busier, it’s more difficult for people to plan vacations a whole year in advance. Shortening the reservation window will better accommodate visitors’ busy schedules and allow more people to enjoy the most desirable campsites and lodging.”

The DNR is making this decision based on customer surveys, data analysis and a "desire to improve fairness and equity in the reservation process," the release said, noting the majority of the DNR's visitors plan their overnight visits a few months before they go – not a whole year in advance. 

The DNR was slated to make changes to reservation windows this fall, but "operational uncertainties" with the COVID-19 pandemic prompted it do make the change earlier. The DNR was forced to cancel more than 25,000 reservations due to closures from April-May of this year and is trying to provide a 24-hour gap between lodging reservations, due to the pandemic. 

"A shorter reservation window will facilitate the implementation of the gap between lodging reservations and any future operational changes that may be needed," the release says.

There are nearly 5,000 campsites in Minnesota's state parks, the DNR's website says. Reservations for the DNR's campsites can be made online here

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