Reserve a camping space on the Net

Campgrounds like this one at Coyote Lake Park will soon be able

GILROY
– Santa Clara County Parks users for the first time will be able
to make reservations for camping, boating and group picnics using
the Internet next year.
GILROY – Santa Clara County Parks users for the first time will be able to make reservations for camping, boating and group picnics using the Internet next year.

The computer-based system is scheduled to be available for use by the public in January, said Donnette Lucas, reservations unit supervisor for the county park system. This week, the system started its final testing phase to check for system flaws and to get information systems managers used to the system, she said.

“We just switched on the reservation software,” she said. “We went live on Tuesday. … We want to make sure we’re really comfortable with it before we open it up to the public.”

The park system’s current reservation system only allows users to make telephone reservations from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Park users often are put in a long queue of callers and must wait to talk to a reservation person during busy times, Lucas said.

Park users paying by check or cash need to go to the park’s headquarters at Vasona Park in Los Gatos between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

This year, using the old system, the park projected 4,000 reservations would be made over the phones and budgeted $27,000 to operate the reservation system. With the Internet system, park users will be able to make reservations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, she said.

“That’ll change each year depending on how many reservations we project for each year,” said Tamara Clark-Shear, public information officer for the county park system.

The park system has used software called Reserve America, but the new Internet-based system will use a software product called Daksoft Reservit.

The county park system has been considering implementing an Internet-based reservation system for the last two years. It has been working with computer technicians for the last two months to set up the system, she said.

Installing the Daksoft software had an initial start-up cost of $10,000, which included training of park staff members and inputting data from the old system to the new system, Clark-Shear said.

Daksoft will charge $5 for each reservation made on the system.

The new system will allow computer technicians to support it in a localized area rather than from remote servers as is currently done, she said.

Campground users will be able to see photographs of the campsites on their computers to learn if they are located in the redwoods, chaparral or oak trees, Clark-Shear said.

“We’re creating a virtual tour of the campgrounds,” she said. “You’ll be able to see what the campground looks like. I think that’s going to be a huge benefit for the customer.”

The Internet reservation system will take all major credit cards, Clark-Shear said. When it is running next year, it can be accessed at www.parkhere.org.

“Every other established park system has camping reservations, and we’re really excited about ours,” she said.

Lucas encourages country residents to enjoy local camping.

“It’s close to home and it’s beautiful,” she said. “Where else can you be able to travel 20 minutes and find some place so beautiful to escape.”

In the South County, camping is available at Mt. Madonna, Coyote Lake and Uvas Canyon county parks. Boating is available at Coyote Lake, Anderson, Uvas and Chesbro reservoirs.

Automobile-access camping costs $15 a night, RV-hookup camping is $25 a night, and walk-in sites cost $8 a night.

Reservations: 355-2201.

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