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Old 05-01-2008, 08:50 AM   #1
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Reserve America

For those of you out there forced to use Reserve America in order to
camp in your state's park system, any tips on how to avoid using
their service?

Though I appreciate the relative ease in reserving a camp spot, and I
understand that park rangers are probably relieved that they no longer
have to deal with reservations, I am annoyed with RA's high reservation
and cancellation fees.
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Old 05-01-2008, 09:09 AM   #2
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Yeah, those guys want to make their money. I know the feeling from the private-campground side, where we get a near-constant barrage of calls from outfits that want to run our reservation system, naturally for a hefty fee. Some of them have been calling once a week for months now. (There's a loophole in the no-call system that allows them to pester businesses to death.)

Lynn
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Old 05-01-2008, 10:52 AM   #3
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I used reserve america, and got an unwanted magazine subsricption that I can't cancel. Anybody want "backpacking magazine"?
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Old 05-01-2008, 11:50 AM   #4
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At least the mag is free, and has great pictures.

Try leaving the mag in your doctor's office and barber shops - it will improve the selection.

Pat
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:30 PM   #5
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The only way I know of getting around reserve america is to wait until the day of arrival, show up at the chosen park and get a campsite from the ranger's office (usually at the front gate / entry way). We have never been turned away (good luck or mabe that there are always no-shows and cancellations). Then, sometimes you can book for a few more days ahead if no-one has claimed your spot via reserve america. Depends on the park and who is at the front desk. it seems to be pretty arbitrary how they decide. We have been able to camp at pretty cool sites that way with no reservations. Good Luck!!!!
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:51 PM   #6
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I've used Reserve America for several years to camp in the Wisconsin State Parks, and I really haven't had any problems with it. Considering the high taxes we pay in Wisconsin any attempt to keep payroll costs down by outsourcing is appreciated. Considering the low cost to camp in our beautiful Wi state parks even with the Reserve America fees it's still a great deal. There's no way I would want to sweat out whether or not a campsite, especially with electricity, would be available just driving in without reservations.
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonFitz
I've used Reserve America for several years to camp in the Wisconsin State Parks, and I really haven't had any problems with it. Considering the high taxes we pay in Wisconsin any attempt to keep payroll costs down by outsourcing is appreciated. Considering the low cost to camp in our beautiful Wi state parks even with the Reserve America fees it's still a great deal. There's no way I would want to sweat out whether or not a campsite, especially with electricity, would be available just driving in without reservations.
We have had some TERRIBLE experiences with Reserve America. Not al of them have been bad,but I would say 90% have. We have experienced agents who treated us as if asking for a reservation was an annoyance and a bother as well as unwilling to look park info. But, we have had a few really cool agents. I get excited when they are nice and helpful.
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Old 05-01-2008, 02:10 PM   #8
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I've used their Internet reservation service without a problem. I know there is a fee but what doesn't have one these days. I've been renewing my Missouri state vehicle tags via the Internet. It also has a fee but it beats the travel and standing in line.

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Old 05-01-2008, 02:10 PM   #9
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Reserve America has improved over the last couple of years. The biggest problem I have is not with Reserve America but the fact that the southern parks that are used all year round have not set some sites aside for weekly rentals. Without that the locals book every site months in advance and vacationers are left with a 5 day fill in at the more popular parks.

If you are able to plan 11 months in advance you too can play that game but most can not.

Another point of interest. Depending on the clerk, you get when you call in, and if her kids are not cring in the background, some can be very helpful and will look way out on a given site and work there way back until they see a vacancy. I think all RA clerks work from home so there is no office culture against you.
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Old 05-01-2008, 02:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
I used reserve america, and got an unwanted magazine subsricption that I can't cancel. Anybody want "backpacking magazine"?
Is that where that came from? We were wondering who signed us up for a new magazine subscription. We knew we didn't sign up for it.
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Old 05-01-2008, 02:39 PM   #11
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I'm with DonFitz. We camp in Wisconsin State Parks fairly often and sometimes want busy weekend slots. I don't mind going without reservations if it's a lower traffic period -- or if I just want to use a state or national forest campground. Minnesota has their own system (probably privately administered) that is folded seamlessly into our DNR site and doesn't switch you over to Reserve America.

I have only used Reserve America's online reservation system. Spending the online time to check electric site availability and site parking length is worth it. I've never dealt with a human and the online experience has been flawless. I haven't needed to cancel any reservations though...
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Old 05-01-2008, 03:12 PM   #12
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Canceling a reservation is a difficult process by design. Try doing it by phone when you are on the road. Nearly impossible.
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Old 05-01-2008, 05:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aturner4u
Is that where that came from? We were wondering who signed us up for a new magazine subscription. We knew we didn't sign up for it.
Today we received Field and Stream. Did it come from the same place? You get your fees back in magazine subscriptions?
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Old 05-01-2008, 05:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmclemore
At least the mag is free, and has great pictures.
Try leaving the mag in your doctor's office and barber shops - it will improve the selection. Pat

What a great freakin' idea! Thanks!
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