The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is taking public comments through October 26th on changes to its parks reservation system. State parks bureau chief, Kevin Szcodronski, says the proposal that will have the biggest impact expands the number of sites that can be reserved early.
Szcodronski says right now, 50% of the sites are available for reservations, while the other 50% remain for walk-up on a first-come, first-serve basis. They propose upping the number of reservable sites to 75%.
“We’re just looking at an economy of scale, the more we can get on the reservation system, we can keep the cost down for the people who want to make reservations overall,” Szcodronski explains. Szcodronski says the change is part of the next generation of the reservation system.
“We originally proposed to go to 75% reservable and during the public input process, it was so new that people were really concerned about going all the way to 75%, so we kind of backed down to 50% reservable and 50% walk on,” Szcodronski says. He says now that the system has been in place for four years, there’s other reasons they want to go up to 75% if the public and campers want to do that.
Szcodronski says they are looking for comments on the proposal. He says a 50-50 mix is pretty politically balanced and once you change that you have to justify that. He says they are ready and want to go to 75%, but want to hear comments and then decide the best route to go.
Another change involves the fees to make changes in reservations. He says a new service would allow you to make changes on-line and pay five dollars, while if you use the call center to make a change, you would now pay seven dollars compared to the current five dollars for talking to a live person.
Suggestions or comments on the rule changes can be made in writing or by phone on or before October 26, 2010 to Sherry Arntzen, State Parks Bureau, Department of Natural Resources, 502 E 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50319. Or you can call: 515-242-6233;or e-mail Sherry.Arntzen@dnr.iowa.gov.
There will be a public hearing on October 26 at two p.m. in the 5th floor conference room of the Wallace State Office Building if you would like to make comments in person. A complete copy of the rules and their proposed amendments can be viewed on-line at: www.exploreiowaparks.com.