State park camping reservation system opens Feb. 21

State park camping reservation system opens Feb. 21 Beginning Feb. 21, visitors planning camping trips to South Dakota state parks can begin making reservations for the summer camping season.

Reservations for camping in most state parks can be made up to 90 days prior to the arrival date by calling (800) 710-CAMP (2267) or visiting www.CampSD.com. The first day reservations can be made is Feb. 21 for a May 21 arrival, which is Open House Weekend in South Dakota state parks.

"In 2003, South Dakota's state park system hosted more than 9.4 million visitors, making it the busiest year on record," said Doug Hofer, state parks director. "The growing number of people camping in state park areas makes the reservation system all the more appealing. It is helpful to know that your campsite will be waiting for you when you arrive."

Several state park campgrounds have been added to the reservation system in 2004, including Cow Creek Recreation Area near Pierre, Pease Creek Recreation Area near Lake Andes, Springfield Recreation Area near Springfield, Union Grove State Park near Beresford and West Pollock Recreation Area near Pollock. In addition, reservations for horse camps at Custer, Lewis & Clark, Newton Hills, Oakwood Lakes, Pelican Lake and Union Grove can now all be made through the reservation system.

Camping reservations are available from May 21 to Sept. 6 in most park areas. A limited number of parks also accept reservations through Oct. 11.

Reservations are being accepted for the entire camping season at Custer State Park and for camping cabins and lodges in all state parks and recreation areas.

The telephone reservation center is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily (CST).

Online reservations may be made 24 hours a day, though campsites do not become available until 7 a.m. on the first day of the 90-day window. There is a $5 per site non-refundable reservation fee, which is not applicable to South Dakota residents.

The free state parks' Making Camping Reservations brochure provides more detailed information on making reservations, including an abbreviated

90-day window calendar. Additionally, the 2004 SD Campground Mapbook provides useful information in choosing the perfect campsite in

the state park campgrounds. The mapbook will soon be available for purchase online at www.sdgfp.info/Parks or at a local park offices for $5 each.

To receive a free copy of the reservation brochure, call the Division of Parks and Recreation office at (605) 773-3391 or e-mail parkinfo@state.sd.us. For more information on reservations, including the full 90-day window calendar, visit

the state parks Web site at www.sdgfp.info/Parks.

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