TRENTON – As part of its commitment to improving services for visitors, the State Park Service within the Department of Environmental Protection has launched a new centralized online and telephone reservation system for campsites and cabins in New Jersey’s state parks and forests.
“You can now search for campsites and cabins and make reservations 24 hours a day, every day of the year,” said Richard Boornazian, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. “This new system makes it much easier than ever for residents and visitors to plan that perfect outdoor getaway and make the most of their vacation.”
The new system is being operated through ReserveAmerica, a leading provider of campground reservations for state and federal park systems across the nation.
Reservations can be made by visiting http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/ and clicking on the green “Reservations” tab on the top left of the page.
You may also call the reservation call center at 1-855-607-3075. From April 1 through Oct. 31, the call center will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Beginning Nov. 1 through March 31, 2014, the call center will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
The New Jersey State Park System encompasses 440,000 acres in all 21 counties, and includes more than 50 historic sites, historic battlefields and villages, and 39 active recreation areas with year-round operations. The park system also boasts more than 500 miles of hiking and riding trails and 10 miles of ocean beaches. Many of the parks offer camping and cabin-rental opportunities in areas with stunning scenery.
All State Parks and Forests are now reopened or partially reopened following Superstorm Sandy and most camping and cabin services have been restored, with the exception of all camping areas at Round Valley Recreation Area and Cheesequake State Park and one of the camping areas at Allaire State Park. The goal is to reopen these camping areas by early summer.
Hosted on ReserveAmerica.com, a media property of Active Network, the new reservation system eliminates the paper-based camping reservation system and the need to call individual parks to make a reservation. This will create significant efficiencies for park staff and is consistent with the Governor’s Park Sustainability Plan, which is working to make the park system more self-sustaining.
“Visitors can be assured that they will still get the same top-notch camping experience and service from park staff when they arrive at their destination,” State Park Service Director Mark Texel said. “Our staff is dedicated to providing you with an enjoyable and safe visit.”
In addition to the convenience of searching for sites with the click of a mouse or swipe of a touchscreen, users can use photos and maps to find the perfect destination.
To get even more out of your getaway planning, the DEP offers Pocket Ranger, a free mobile phone application that provides a wealth of useful information about the state’s parks, forests, historic sites and wildlife management areas. The application is available for both Apple and Android mobile devices. Visit www.StateParkApps.com for more information.
Pocket Ranger has social networking capabilities and provides an advanced map-caching feature that allows users to continue to navigate even if mobile service is lost. In addition, advanced GPS technology allows hikers to keep track of where they are and how far they’ve hiked. The same technology enables hunters and anglers to mark favorite hunting spots and fishing holes.
If you are a frequent visitor to the parks, you can purchase an Annual State Park Pass. The park allows frequent visitors to enjoy all that New Jersey’s parks and forest have to offer at what can amount to a significant savings. The cost is $50 for state residents and $75 if you live outside of New Jersey.
The Annual State Park Pass can be purchased at any New Jersey State Park or Forest office or by mail through the Trenton Central Office. For information, visit: http://www.njparksandforests.org/parks/feeschedule.htm#pass
To connect with New Jersey’s parks on Facebook, visit: https://www.facebook.com/NewJerseyStateParks
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