SLO County Parks officials seek Web bookings

The hundreds of thousands of people who seek reservations for a stay or visit at Lopez Lake, Santa Margarita Lake or other county parks facilities each year will have an easier time next year after a new state-of-the-art reservation system is in place, according to county parks Director Curtis Black.

Black is asking the Board of Supervisors to sign off on a $160,000 system that would allow would-be park users to go online at any hour and make reservations.

It also will let the public look at a particular park site online and obtain such information as whether it is shady, how close it is to a restroom and other user-friendly details.

Black told The Tribune that this is a major improvement on the current system, which is largely a case of a potential user calling the parks department to make a reservation between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“We’re actually moving into the world where other parks agencies have lived for years,” Black said. In a report to the Board of Supervisors, parks Superintendent Larry Iaquinto said the parks department is responsible for operating and maintaining more than 14,000 acres of regional parks, neighborhood and community parks, trails, open-space areas and three golf courses.

There are more than 700 campsites in its five campgrounds, Iaquinto wrote, as well as “a multitude of recreational activities,” including dance classes, lifeguard training and more. The department operates 29 park facilities that collect more than $3.5 million annually.

The existing system for making reservations is “both antiquated and cumbersome,” Iaquinto wrote. Should the board approve the purchase, Black said he hopes to have it in place by spring.

The Board of Supervisors has put the proposal on its Oct. 23 agenda. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo.