State parks will partially reopen camping for Wyoming residents Friday and all sites will require a reservation.

Gary Schoene, spokesman for Wyoming State Parks, said this is because for the last few years, 40% of the state’s campsites were on the reservation system. Schoene said he hopes that by Friday, close to 95% will be on the system.

If people tried to reserve a campsite in the last few weeks, it might have appeared that all of the sites at a particular park were already reserved.

“That’s why everything was looking booked,” Schoene said. “The old sites were just on there, not the new sites.”

According to a press release from the state, the reservation system will ensure that only in-state residents can make reservations, provide instant communication through information on the reservation and reduce cash handling by staff.

With the reservation system, there is a fee of $7.75 on top of the overnight camping and day-use fees, Schoene said

“We’ve had some pushback on that," he added.

The reservation system allows people to ensure they have a campsite before they drive out to the park, he said.

Schoene expects this year’s camping season to be busy. In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, as other states were shutting down their campgrounds, Wyoming was seeing a lot of campers coming from those states.

“In March, we were getting June-type numbers because we were the only game in town,” he said.

While the state won’t see the out-of-state campers it was seeing then, “There’ll be more opportunities for more in-state people to camp,” Schoene said.

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