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The Perfect Spot

Pilot program offers site-specific reservations at Lake Livingston.

By Rob McCorkle

Campers planning to visit Lake Livingston State Park in the Pineywoods can now select a specific campsite while making reservations under a one-year pilot program introduced recently. The site-specific reservations policy is unprecedented in the Texas state park system, which mostly operates on a first-come, first-served basis for securing a campsite.

So far, park officials give the pilot program positive marks. During the first two weeks of its implementation in January, 528 reservations were made for the 10 screened shelters and 34 full-hookup campsites available in the program. In total, the state park has more than 170 campsites.

Lake Livingston

“We wanted to explore new options to provide the best possible park experience while ensuring better access for late arrivals,” says Sheldon Kauitzsch, assistant park superintendent. “This pilot was driven in part by past visitor comments and a recent survey of park users that overwhelmingly confirmed they wanted this option.”

An internal Texas Parks and Wildlife Department team spent a year researching the site-specific reservation issue, talking to other organizations that use such a system. The team learned that 48 other state park systems take site-specific reservations.

One of the keys to implementing the site-specific reservation program was the development of an interactive park map of the campgrounds that includes photos and a brief description of each site. Visitors to the park’s website can click on a map button that allows them to virtually see and then reserve a specific screened shelter or campsite.

“It provides a visitor who has never been to our park the ability to see the sites beforehand,” Kauitzsch says. “The RV owner, for instance, can find out the orientation, slope and measurements of the campsite, where the trees are located that might interfere with slide-outs and the location of sewer drops.”

A post-launch survey will provide customer feedback about the new campsite reservation system.

Once website visitors select a campsite or shelter, they can click on an online reservation website link to finalize the transaction.

Find out more by calling (936) 365-2201 or visiting www.tpwd.texas.gov/lakelivingston. Reservations also can be made by calling (512) 389-8900.

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