Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Visitors to Montana State Park campgrounds utilized their new campsite reservation program for the first time over the Memorial Day weekend holiday. The new program went on-line at twenty of the primary camping destination state parks statewide this past weekend. At each of the parks, approximately 20%-25% of the available campsites remain for walk-in visitors as they traditionally have been.
Despite cool weather conditions, over 750 individual camping nights were reserved statewide. Popular parks with high numbers of reservations included Placid Lake, Big Arm, Black Sandy and Lewis & Clark Caverns in the western third of Montana. For eastern Montana, Tongue River Reservoir and Hell Creek State Parks were the destination parks where campsite reservations have been made since the new program came online in late March.
Cooney State Park near Billings is also a popular camping park for the Memorial Day weekend. This year the extreme flooding conditions required the park to be closed prior to Memorial Day. All campers with reservations were notified in advance by phone or e-mail. A full refund of their campsite and reservation fees was provided due to the conditions. Other parks have also been affected by the high water conditions, but remained open.
“We typically come to Black Sandy on Wednesday or Thursday to get a spot”, said a visitor. “This year with the reservation program we were able to pick the days we wanted and came out on Friday”.
A camper at Lewis & Clark Caverns stated that “without the reservation program we would not have come out this weekend. The assurance we would have a site made the difference.”
Chas Van Genderen, Administrator of Montana State Parks adds “Montana’s first weekend with the new campsite reservation program was a success. Visitors utilized their state parks as they traditionally have, but this Memorial Day they arrived with the assurance the campsite they expected was waiting for them, no matter how far they travelled. That sure makes a difference when gas prices are high. We have worked to make things as convenient as possible via the website and call center reservation options.”
For campsite reservations, please visit the Montana State Park website fwp.mt.gov/parks, campmt.com or call toll free at 1-855-922-6768.
Get out and enjoy your Montana State Parks this summer.