Rocky Mountain National Park wilderness camping reservations postponed

The annual rush to secure precious backcountry camping permits at Rocky Mountain National Park had to be shut down Monday due to “technical difficulties,” the park announced via Twitter with an apology for the “inconvenience.” The sale was scheduled to begin at 8 a.m., with reservations expected to go fast.

“The Pay.gov website is currently down and unable to process payments,” the park’s tweet explained nearly two hours after reservations were supposed to go on sale. “Pay.gov is working to resolve this issue. We plan to reinitiate the rollout tomorrow morning.”

Presumably thousands of people were waiting online at 8 a.m. in hopes of getting reservations. The park’s public information officer, Kyle Patterson, said no one was able to do so because the Pay.gov site was already down at 8 a.m.

A Denver Post reporter logged on at 8 a.m. attempting to make reservations but found pages wouldn’t load after she filled them out, kicking her back to the beginning of the process. After 30 minutes she found the application wouldn’t load at all, even though she had three browsers going on two devices.

This is not the first time the online reservations system has been used, but in previous years hopeful campers had the option of making reservations in person at the park’s backcountry office. That part of the process typically attracted large crowds of people who drew their place in line via hand-drawn lottery. That option was not made available this year because of COVID-19.

Reservations are scheduled to start Tuesday.

“On March 2 at 8 a.m., the link for camping reservations will be found at www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/wilderness-camping.htm,” the park tweeted. “The link to the reservation system will not be available prior to that date and time.”

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