Archive for Friday, February 12, 1999

CORPS RESERVING NATIONAL CAMPSITES

February 12, 1999

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Campers can start making reservations at area lakes starting March 1.

You can reserve your spot at the lake now for Labor Day weekend.

Starting March 1, campers will be able to call a toll-free number to reserve campsites at Clinton and Perry lakes.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Forest Service are adding Kansas City District lakes, including Perry and Clinton, to a list of areas handled by the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) through its Park Net phone service.

The service takes reservations for campgrounds across the country. The corps first began taking phone reservations in the fall of 1998 and is adding more areas to its phone service this spring.

Reservations were not available previously for the corps' Clinton Lake or Perry Lake campsites.

"Where it's really going to help is on holiday weekends," said Dave Rhoades, the corps' park manager at Clinton Lake. "If we don't fill up, it's almost full."

Bunnie Watkins, the corps' park manager at Perry Lake, was cautiously optimistic about the new system.

"We are currently working with Park Net to ensure that they have accurate information about our particular campgrounds to implement this program by March 1," Watkins said. "We will be getting new park attendant hosts this spring, and we are concerned about getting them trained and familiar with the program as well."

The phone service allows campers to call up to 240 days in advance to make reservations. Group sites can be reserved up to 360 days in advance.

"That doesn't mean you have to make a reservation," Rhoades said. "If (campsites) are available, you can rent them."

NRRS accepts all major credit cards. There is no charge for making reservations above and beyond the camping fee, but there is a fee for changing the reservations.

Campsites at the corps' Bloomington Park on the west side of Clinton Lake will be available for reservations; campsites at Rock Haven or Woodridge Park won't be. Perry Lake has five corps campgrounds; four will be available for reservations. The fifth has free sites.

New additions to the reservation system include campgrounds in Kansas, Missouri and Iowa.

The toll-free number for reservations is (877) 444-6777.

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is fhaynes@ljworld.com.

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