It’s been an exercise in frustration and futility for many campers around Southern California who wish to spend the Memorial Day holiday weekend in Big Bear.

The website, www.recreation.gov, where people go to reserve a spot at campgrounds throughout the San Bernardino National Forest, isn’t taking reservations, the Big Bear Grizzly reported. Instead, all the prospective camper gets is a blanket statement: “The (blank) campground is closed through May 31 while the San Bernardino National Forest works on issuing a new permit for management of this and surrounding facilities.”

Unfortunately for campers and for Big Bear, May 31 comes three days after the holiday.

According to John Miller, public information officer for the San Bernardino National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service is required to renew concessionaire permits every five years. “The plan is to have them all open by the Memorial Day holiday,” Miller said. “The challenge is in a lot of the older areas there are campers used to reserving the same spot for even generations. The biggest thing is that people have been unable to reserve a spot.”

May is a critical month for campgrounds throughout the national forests. “Usually (the concessionaires) need a couple of weeks in the site before they can open,” Miller said. “They need to turn on the water system, limb trees, rake leaves and do minor maintenance.”

As of press time, the Memorial holiday weekend is less than three weeks away.

The Big Bear Discovery Center has been receiving calls about reservations, Miller said. Miller suggests checking the website frequently during the next two weeks. “Once an agreement is formalized, then recreation.gov will come alive to take reservations,” Miller said. “When that is, I don’t know.”