Reservations for camping and shelters at most Illinois public sites will go online by credit card as of July 7, and reservations by mail or phone will stop.
(The photo above of my oldest boy four years ago starting a fire at Pyramid SRA reminded me how the years slip away. He is much bigger and just graduated.)
Mainly, I think the new systems is an advance into the realities of the 21st Century.
I say that as somebody who has reserved camping sites and cabins in something like six or seven states over the years.
Though, in some ways, I am sad to see phone registrations go. Sometimes those discussions could be very helpful.
I do not know if in-person reservations at the site will be allowed or not. I will try to find out tomorrow.
Here's the word from the IDNR:
IDNR and ReserveAmerica Launching New Online Camping and Shelter Reservation System for State Sites
New Online Camping and Shelter Reservation System Opens July 7
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. --Reservations for most Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) campsites, cabins, group campsites and picnic shelters for the 2010 season can be made online beginning July 7.
Reservations can be made on the ReserveAmerica web site at www.reserveamerica.com using Visa and MasterCard. IDNR camping and shelter reservations will no longer be taken through the mail or over the phone.
"The new online campsite reservation system will make it more convenient for visitors to reserve a spot at our state parks, recreation areas and state fish and wildlife areas," said IDNR Director Marc Miller. "Our state sites are popular destinations for families, hikers, hunters, anglers, and all outdoor enthusiasts. By taking reservations online, we'll help visitors be certain there is a campsite waiting for them when they arrive."
Reserving campsites and shelters through ReserveAmerica's easy-to-navigate web site will allow users to receive instant confirmation of their reservations at IDNR sites.
Reservations for regular campsites and group campsites require a $5 non-refundable reservation fee and payment of the full camping and utility fees at the time the reservation is made. Camping fee information for IDNR sites is available at www.dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/PARKS/. Payment of the entire camping and utility fee amount will guarantee that the reservation will be held for the entire length of the stay. Shelter reservation fees are $25 (except on Saturdays at Spitler Woods State Natural Area in Macon Co., where the shelter fee is $150).
Campsites can be reserved for a maximum of 14 nights per 30-day period and reservations must be made at least seven or five days before the campsite is needed, depending on the facility.
Reservations for the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends may require a two- or three-night minimum stay reservation.
Campsite reservations through the new online system will be available at 67 of Illinois' state parks and other sites managed by the IDNR. Shelter reservations will be available at 51 sites.