ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Minnesota's new state park campsite online reservation system crashed soon after its launch Thursday and will be down indefinitely as officials try to figure out how to fix it.
The system couldn't handle an unanticipated flood of traffic when it went live, Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chris Niskanen said. Officials expected it to take 4,500 reservations in a day, but saw more than 4,500 visits in its first hour, he said. The system took only about 60 reservations before it crashed, he said.
"We apologize," Niskanen said. "We don't like our customers being frustrated. We're disappointed we weren't able to deliver the sort of system they want and we're taking responsibility. We just ask for their patience a little longer."
Niskanen said it will be down indefinitely until the DNR and its vendor, US eDirect, determine how to expand its capacity. People at the vendor are "working their tails off to fix this," he said. A new call center for phone reservations will also remain closed for now.
The new system was meant to be a big improvement, and allowed campers view pictures of individual campsites before selecting them. The state shut down the old system and stopped taking reservations Dec. 26. The combination of pent-up demand and email announcements about the new system's debut likely caused Thursday's overload, Niskanen said.
The DNR hopes to have a timetable for fixing the system and opening the call center sometime next week. Niskanen assured people anxious to make reservations for the popular Memorial Day or Fourth of July holiday weekends that those coveted campsites will still be available when the system comes back up.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)