On March 16, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced changes to reservations at DEC campgrounds for the upcoming season, including new same-day reservations to help add flexibility and ease to last-minute bookings.
“DEC is excited to make some changes and updates to this year’s reservation window for DEC campgrounds,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “While many campers book weeks or months in advance, there continues to be a high demand for last-minute bookings. Adding same-day reservations will allow our customers to check availability and book a reservation on their way to a campground. An additional 17 hours to book a camping stay will ensure sites are available before arriving and prevent anyone from arriving to a full campground.”
The change will afford last-minute campers the security of a reserved campsite at any of DEC‘s 52 campgrounds and aligns the Forest Preserve-based campgrounds with the reservation window currently employed by the facilities operated by the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. All New York State campgrounds will now accept reservations as late as the same day.
Reservations will be required, and patrons can now book a camping reservation as late as 5 p.m. on the desired day of arrival. The public will also be able to book a one-night stay for the 2023 season at any DEC campground beginning April 7, 2023. This will mean that gaps between reservations will be able to be filled earlier than in the past.
For more information on DEC-operated campgrounds, including a list of campgrounds and schedules, visit DEC‘s website or call DEC‘s Bureau of Recreation at (518) 457-2500. To make reservations at any of DEC‘s camping facilities, call ReserveAmerica at 1-800-456-CAMP (2267) or visit the ReserveAmerica website.
Photo at top courtesy of the NYS DEC.
Now do the same thing at the Ausable Club/AMR for hiker parking.
So we arrive at a CG at 5:15 pm without reservations. There are open, unreserved sites. We can’t camp at any of the sites b/c it’s too late to make a reservation. Kind of crazy, b/c most States allow you to obtain a campsite at the time you arrive, if one is available.
This was an ongoing issue for touring cyclists whose ultimate daily destination was always sketchy. You couldn’t go to a state campground without a reservation made a few days advance, which could be hard to plan. Welcome change
Agree, theres a certain amount of common sense to allow the campground attendants to allow folks to check in. I think the issue with that is will Reserve America get their cut ?, and how does that get reported back. Seems easy enough to just do away with any time limit. CG has sites ?, its midnight ?, sure, come on in.
Agree. It’s easy for CG staff to check if there are open sites, assuming internet connection. Borders on the absurd to not allow people to stay at an open site b/c they haven’t reserved it.
In early June last year, I attended a funeral near Seneca Falls and enjoyed camping one night at Cayuga Lake Campground. I was able to do that reservation from my home computer. I was not sure of my destination for the following night.
While at a cemetery the next day, I used my Tracfone to try to make a reservation at another state park. It was getting close to 3 pm; and after much confusing input from Reserve America, it appeared that I could not make a reservation from my Tracfone plan. (I am not adept at using a cell phone; and at my age, it is hard to see the screen and use the tiny keyboard.) The cemetery office was closing, but staff were willing to stay over a few minutes to let me use their computer. But by then, the 3 pm reservation limit had passed.
Reserve America gave me some hope that I could get access to a site as a walk-in, especially since there were well over a hundred vacant sites at my target location at this time of the year. When I arrived at the campground entrance, I was greeted by Security as if I were an escaped convict! I was in an unfamiliar location with no convenience stores or businesses nearby where I could try to discreetly park until morning. I drove for 15 or more miles with tears in my eyes and finally found a place to pull off during a severe thunderstorm. I was extremely tired and felt traumatized to be in a potentially dangerous situation, because of rules that made no sense.
The people at Reserve America were not familiar with the NYS parks. I often camped in State parks when I was younger, and I was hoping to do so a few more times before my 80th birthday. However, I am fearful that I might be unable to maneuver the Reserve America protocols from my TracFone if I have to make a change in travel plans. I am glad for the recent changes, but the system still seems to require a cell phone with banking apps to get through the gate.
Mary E’s story is another example of the problems of increasing over-reliance on computer technology by large organizations like States and businesses. In the ADKS internet service is intended spotty and there is simply no way to make a CG reservation.
A few years ago, we were headed home from Canada, at night driving through a fall storm, banking on FishCreek Ponds CG to be largely vacant. We arrived at around 8pm to the friendly light of the check-in office. We were able to drive in and choose a site from among the many vacant ones. This would not be allowed under today’s policy.
What NY State needs to address is the number of campsites that are reserved but the campers are no-shows. If the campers don’t arrive by 9:00PM they should forfeit the site and Reserve America should list it as Open.
I would have the system cancel your reservation unless you are at the facility by 5, or call and say you are coming. Many reserve and never use the site, I see this at the best sites at Forked Lake, 50% occupancy. The state essentially doesn’t care as they made a reservation and collected money for an unused site.
The issue that needs fixing is the reservation system shows a full campground when in reality it is at fifty percent. Water front sites sit empty for days at a time. Some of our regular campers drove up for the day because they couldn’t get a reservation. They did a drive through and saw a large number of open sites (on a Saturday afternoon)This has a negative effect on small businesses that cater to campers and the returning campers.
Great point, Ruth.
Since taxpayers support the parks, why turn away paying campers who will add to park revenue and support the local businesses?