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State to Implement Reservation System for Camping

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – Campers will be able to make reservations at up to 21 of Montana’s 54 state parks beginning next spring.

Officials with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks say a reservation will cost about $10 on top of the regular campground fee and can be made online or by phone. Between 25 percent and 50 percent of the sites at campgrounds that allow reservations will remain on a first-come, first-served basis.

Chas Van Genderen, state parks administrator, says a campsite reservation program has been the top visitor request each season. He has said the current system was breaking down because competition was causing some campers to occupy a campsite several days before a weekend with an empty car or boat trailer to make sure they have a spot.

Montana State Parks hosted more than 2 million visits last year, up 12 percent from 2008. The only other state without a campsite reservations program for state parks is Alaska.

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