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edatlanta

Change To Federal Reservation System

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There has been talk for some time of a change for the government reservation system to another system.  I am working at a COE campground right now and am involved in the transition training.  

Here is what we know as of this date:

You will no longer be able to make reservations at any federal government facility via reserveamerica.com.  This change is to be made on 9-30-18.

The link for reservations after the transition will be  recreation.gov and the phone number will be the same as it has been 877-444-6777.

When the reserveamerica system is removed on 9-30 the  recreation.gov link and the phone number will be unavailable until approximately 10-5.  This period will allow moving all historical customer data to the new system.  You will not be able to make a reservation at any facility during this period.  If you arrive at your favorite facility during this transition period you should be able to check in, but only as a walk in and only for 1 day at a time.  No advance reservations will be possible.  If you want to stay more than one day you will have to check in each day as a new walk in, but no one will be able to reserve your site from online or phone since these are not options during this period.

This is what we know as of right now so if you know you want to stay at a government facility during this transition period you should make your reservations before 9-30 which will be honored during the 10-1 through 10-5 period.

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Thanks edatlanta for the info. it will be interesting to see how many people get the info before the dates involved. While the switch over is ongoing, looks like a big cluster brewing.

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I had no problems with the previous system but I used Recreaton.gov. I hope there is an upgrade to the technology at the check-in, the system is so slow and ancient. 

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I'll be making a reservation at Recreation.gov on Oct. 8th. I hope they have any conversion glitches straightened out by then, and Booz Allen is up to speed.

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3 hours ago, SWharton said:

I had no problems with the previous system but I used Recreaton.gov. I hope there is an upgrade to the technology at the check-in, the system is so slow and ancient. 

It is a completely new system.

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1 hour ago, edatlanta said:

It is a completely new system.

Have you seen what the new system will look like yet? Am I correct when I assume that you are presently a gate attendant for the COE? Thank you for all of the advance information. 

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I worked as a volunteer for the US Forest Service from Memorial Day to Labor Day summer 2018. We used Recreation.gov all summer long. Never used reserveamerica. Recration.gov is not a new system. Maybe COE is behind using new technology. 

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1 hour ago, Twotoes said:

I worked as a volunteer for the US Forest Service from Memorial Day to Labor Day summer 2018. We used Recreation.gov all summer long. Never used reserveamerica. Recration.gov is not a new system. Maybe COE is behind using new technology. 

Just because you used a system by that name does not mean they have not developed a new system but decided not to change its name to make it easier for campers to find it. Kind of like the Escapee's forum did?

Linda Sand

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recreation.gov is the  name of a website, not the underlying system. I had always thought recreation.gov was for Federal facilities and reserveamerica was for state. 

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13 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

Have you seen what the new system will look like yet? Am I correct when I assume that you are presently a gate attendant for the COE? Thank you for all of the advance information. 

Yes Kirk I have have access to the new system.  The framework is there right now, but no data has been uploaded yet.  This is scheduled to be done between 10-1 and 10-5 when the new system is supposed to go live for all.  I'm sure there will be issues, but that is the current timeline as of right now.  I just checked the new site a few minutes ago.  There is a timeline feature for internal users to see what is happening by day and scheduled.  We will have access to the old system until 10-3 for printing of reports, etc.  After that it is new system totally.

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6 hours ago, Twotoes said:

I worked as a volunteer for the US Forest Service from Memorial Day to Labor Day summer 2018. We used Recreation.gov all summer long. Never used reserveamerica. Recration.gov is not a new system. Maybe COE is behind using new technology. 

When you made a reservation on reserveamerica.com it was not recreation.gov, but when you clicked on the link to pay for your reservation is transitioned to recreation.gov to accept the payment.  This has been the system for a long time so you are correct when you say recreation.gov isn't a new link, but the old system behind it is completely changing and I mean completely new system.  We have been hearing of this new system for months, but didn't get any details until this past week.

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5 hours ago, sandsys said:

Just because you used a system by that name does not mean they have not developed a new system but decided not to change its name to make it easier for campers to find it. Kind of like the Escapee's forum did?

Linda Sand

Exactly.  Even the phone number for making reservations via recreation.gov isn't changing.  It was and will still be 877-444-6777.  

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I feel the biggest problem has been the infrastructure at the various parks. They have old equipment with poor internet connections. I hope updating the infrastructure is part of the new system.

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1 minute ago, SWharton said:

I feel the biggest problem has been the infrastructure at the various parks. They have old equipment with poor internet connections. I hope updating the infrastructure is part of the new system.

We have satellite internet here now and it is old and "Slooooooo" and an old computer with Windows 7, but we have a new sat system already installed and a new W10 computer that will both be turned on 10-1 when the new system starts to be available internally.  The external availability is scheduled for 10-5.  No reservations will be available from 10-1 to 10-5 either online or the toll free number.

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39 minutes ago, SWharton said:

I wonder why they are waiting to use the new hardware, that has nothing to do with the new site.

Probably to avoid putting the old system on the new hardware. It may be a people problem as the training of users will be a huge undertaking if you consider the number of locations. And don't forget that none of us who use the parks want to pay any additional fees or taxes to pay for the upgrades! 

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I doubt if anything physically goes on the  new hardware. To expect people to install new hardware and then learn a new system at the same time will be challenging.

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I expect the system used at the individual parks has local park management programming and data installed that's more extensive than what's online. If nothing else, the local terminals would need a means of continuing to function during an Internet outage. The new hardware is likely only set up with the new system programming...

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It is my understanding based on this article and others the change is at least in part due to a change in the contractor that will have the responsibility for operating the Recreation.Gov system and website.

Quote

In October, a new contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, a management-consulting giant based in northern Virginia, will take over operations from Aspira, the parent company of ReserveAmerica, getting the keys to some 100,000 campsites managed by the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service. 

Apparently there were some changes in the new contract. 

Quote

 

...Unlike its predecessor, Booz Allen must adhere to two important requirements. First, it has to provide real-time updates on campsite availability through something known as an application programming interface, or API...Second, the company has to make good-faith efforts to negotiate business relationships with third parties that create campsite-reservation applications. This latter obligation incentivizes a wave of tech businesses to transform the booking experience.

Which is a big deal. Imagine an app that would notify you of openings at nearby campgrounds with access to, say, great singletrack or a killer surf break—and then let you book it on the spot. This won’t happen overnight, but the efficiencies of modern e-commerce are at last coming to camping...

 

 

 

Edited by trailertraveler

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6 hours ago, SWharton said:

I wonder why they are waiting to use the new hardware, that has nothing to do with the new site.

New hardware cannot always use old software. Both can become obsolete. My current computer cannot run a program I used to use a lot. Fortunately, I no longer participate in the old activity so I am all right with that. But my current operating system also can not run a bunch of games I enjoyed; I miss them.

Linda Sand

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I don't know how the rest of you are doing but this "new" system is a joke.  (Yeah I cleaned that up).  If you use the filters in your search you get stuff that doesn't apply and don't get parks that should have showed up.  At the end of the cart timer, it didn't know how to release the campsite.  A park that had damage and closed camp loops - no indication of that on the site and no email sent out to notify me that my 12 days worth of reservation was closed for the season - let alone a refund.  Try booking for 14 days - and all 14 days have to be in the booking window now not just the beginning of the stay. All the Saved trips have disappeared.  Etc, etc. Absolutely frustrating to try to use the new site.  And of course the chat, phone and email go to recreation folks who have NO control over the mess happening with software.  How was this company chosen and by whom?  Obviously they don't have a grasp on what all the software needed to do.

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We used it twice and both times it was pain, first time it took 1.5 hours to book 3 sites for 3 days, very user unfriendly. You should here what the gate people have to say about it. The site we are in now we took a chance and drove there because we were only a hour away and we figured it would be faster. 

Denny 

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I was able to make my April reservation at Recreation.gov on Oct 8th with only a little difficulty. It'll take some getting used to the new layout, and not all of the park maps are available yet, nor is the reservation history that used to be available on the Aspira system. I'm sure Booz, Allen has a steep learning curve ahead of them as they proceed with this new venture. Hopefully they'll get their act together and listen to what their customers are telling them so they can make any needed changes.

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