Wright County Parks & Recreation was expecting a big day Monday as the 2022 campground reservation portal opened. Parks & Recreation Operations Manager Brad Harrington has become accustomed to the flood of on-line, in-person and over-the-phone reservations on the opening day for reservations.
At 8 a.m., all sites became available and, as in previous years, it was orchestrated chaos – “I call it the ‘rip the Band-Aid approach,’” Harrington said.
The impact of camping reservations is the life blood of the department and just one day in to the ability to reserve spots, finding a campsite in Collinwood Park or Schroeder Park will be difficult on a Friday or Saturday night.
“As expected, it was pretty crazy when things got started at 8 a.m.,” Harrington said. “We brought in just under $128,000 in the first hour. This was the first year we had camping at Bertram Park, so that probably played a role in the numbers going up. Last year we were at about $108,000 in the first hour.”
By the time Monday ended, Wright County Parks & Rec had taken in almost $165,000 in reservation – approximately a $50,000 increase in revenue from 2021 and campers were coming at Harrington and his staff from the start of the day until late into the night.
Harrington had a crowd of people in person to reserve campground spots and, after the line thinned out, he got to the voluminous amount of voice messages that came in – 144 total with most of those coming between 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. His day was long, starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 9 p.m., but this is what Wright County Parks & Rec has become accustomed to when the reservation floodgate opens.
“By the end of the day, we were pretty much fully booked for Collinwood and Schroeder,” Harrington said. “Our peak season is between Memorial Day and Labor Day and, for those two parks, we’re pretty much at 100 percent sold out for all the weekends. There are still available spots at Bertram, but I was very pleased with how things went Monday.”