ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is updating its camping and lodging reservation policies to improve access, fairness and equity for visitors and to reduce the frequency of no-shows at state parks and recreation areas.

The new policies will take effect on Dec. 1.

Under the new policy, visitors who cancel 14 days or more prior to their scheduled visit will no longer pay cancellation fees. This will encourage earlier cancellation and allow for the rebooking of sites, thereby improving access for other potential visitors. This is particularly important during a time when Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas are more popular than ever, a release said.

The DNR is also updating its reservation modification policy to prohibit “date sliding,” which will give everyone a fair chance to book the most popular campsites and dates. “Date sliding” was a technique some customers used to reserve a specific campsite before anyone else could by making use of a loophole in the modification policy.

The new policy effectively ends the practice by requiring visitors who make reservations at the maximum reservation window (120 days in advance of the arrival date) to wait 21 days before modifying or canceling their reservation.

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“Minnesota state parks and recreation areas are for all Minnesotans to enjoy,” Erika Rivers, DNR Parks and Trails Division director, said in the release. “We want to ensure that campsites and lodging are open and available to each person equitably, and that if your plans change you can easily cancel so the DNR can make that opportunity available to one of your fellow Minnesotans.”

For a full list of the new reservation policies and FAQs, visit the DNR website.