Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to change reservation window July 1

The DNR will shorten the reservation window from 1 year to 4 months.

The Finland State Forest is home to the Finland Campground and Eckbeck Campground (shown), both managed by Tettegouche State Park. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced new changes to the campground reservation window. (2019 File / News Tribune)

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is shortening its window for making reservations for camping and lodging to 120 days, or four months. Previously, customers could make reservations for campsites, cabins, yurts, tipis, and lodging facilities up to one year in advance. The change will take effect July 1.

The agency had originally planned to make this change in the fall of 2020, but stated in a news release that " uncertainties with the COVID-19 pandemic and associated changes to cleaning protocols" pushed the DNR to make the change sooner.

According to the release, this policy change is based on customer survey results, data analysis and a desire to improve fairness and equity in the reservation process. DNR surveys indicated that most visitors plan their overnight visits to parks a few months ahead and that many could not plan an entire year in advance.

The COVID-19 pandemic created other new challenges for the state parks reservation system, including the recommendation to provide a 24-hour gap between lodging reservations. The pandemic also forced the agency to cancel more than 25,000 reservations due to the closures in April and May.

All reservations made before July 1 will be honored, even if they are beyond the new 120-day reservation window. However if a customer needs to change a reservation, rebooking will only be possible within the new 120-day window.

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