RFP seeks vendor to consolidate recreation sites

The consolidation of the government’s recreation reservation Web sites is about to begin.

After more than two years of work on the Recreation One-Stop Quicksilver project, the Agriculture Department’s Forest Service last week released a request for proposals to set up a new recreation reservation system combining the National Recreation Service’s and the National Park Service’s systems.

The contract will have a base period of 3.5 years and six one-year options. Proposals are due April 23. The agency plans to award a contract in June with migration to one system taking place in November, said Charlie Grymes, Recreation One-Stop project manager.

“November is our slow season, so there is less data in the system than any other time during the year,” he said.

The new site will incorporate functionality of the Recreation.gov site, which Interior launched in September 2002.

Users will be able to reserve campsites online or buy wilderness permits and tour tickets.

Spherix Inc. of Beltsville, Md., and ReserveAmerica Inc., a subsidiary of InterActiveCorp. of Los Angeles, are the incumbent contractors for the National Recreation Service and National Park Service sites, respectively.

Now that the RFP is out, the project team can concentrate on getting the data standards approved, Grymes said. Federal agencies are reviewing RecML, an Extensible Markup Language schema developed over the past two years.

“Agreeing to this data exchange standard will make sure all systems will hold consistent information and eliminate duplicative data entry,” he said.

The project team also is working with the states to link through their sites to commercial recreation facilities.

“States are investing a good deal of money and resources to establish their Web sites, and we are happy to have them do that,” Grymes said. Eliminating the extra click to the state’s site “would cost us a good deal of money in data collection and management.”

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