Beginning Nov. 3, state park campers who make reservations on the new, improved central reservation system (CRS) website, administered by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), can view one or more photos of each campsite prior to making their reservations. With the existing reservation system website, customers read descriptive text about the campsite to determine if its sunny, shady, flat or elevated, said Christa Sturtevant-Good, DNR central reservation system liaison. While text descriptions will remain, altered slightly to an easier-to-read format, campers can also look at between one to three photos of every site, and then visually decide if that campsite has all the features theyre looking for. The photos will be shown as smaller thumbnail images which, when clicked on, open to a larger size in a new window. In this way, viewers can see the site up close, said Anna Sylvester, DNR Parks and Recreation field operations chief for northern Michigan. Often campers wonder where the fire pit or electrical box is located on the site, but they cant tell this just by reading text. These features are shown in most photos, allowing campers to determine if the location of campsite elements will meet their camping needs. The addition of campsite and lodging photos is a customer-driven enhancement made available through the new CRS provider, Camis USA, Inc., which has a call center in Ann Arbor, Mich., and servers in Southfield, Mich. The new reservation system becomes active in early November, with important transitions taking place as the activation approaches. During the transition phase to the new CRS, customers can continue to make reservations through Oct. 30 using the call center. The phone number, 1-800-44-PARKS, will remain unchanged. Reservations through the website, www.midnrreservations.com, will be possible until Oct. 22 at 8 p.m., when the website will taken down to begin the transition process to the new website. The address will not change. Important transition dates include: Oct. 22-31: Website reservations cannot be made. The call center will remain active through Oct. 30, taking reservations for dates through Oct. 31, 2013. Oct. 25: The new reservation website goes live. Although reservations cannot yet be made on the website, customer profiles can be created and viewers can navigate the site to create familiarity. Oct. 31: Reservations cannot be made. State parks can register walk-ins on a first-come, first-served basis. Nov. 1: The new CRS system, both the website and the call center, opens to state park lodging, which typically has a one-year reservation window (camper cabins, mini-cabins, rustic cabins, yurts and modern lodges). Reservations for these facilities can now be made for dates after Oct. 31, 2013. From Nov. 1-2, campsites and slips are not reservable. During this time, campsites and slips are available at the facility on a first-come, first-served basis. Nov. 3: The system opens to facilities with a six-month reservation window. These include campsites at state parks and select state forest campgrounds and harbor slips. During the transition phase, updates and CRS-related press releases are available by visiting the DNR website www.michigan.gov/stateparks and clicking on A New and Improved Campground Reservation System is Launching on November 1st.