Yes, it is not a smooth-running process. But then as the saying goes... You get what you pay for.

The U.S. Forest Service has endured budget cuts year after year after year. In many national forests, they don't have any funds to employ any foot rangers. So the trails are completely unpatrolled, and they are using volunteers more and more for maintenance.

I'm not sure about, but I think it is run by a private contractor, and they get that $6 for each lottery application and non-lottery reservation, so one wonders why it has so many glitches.

However, before they switched to using (3 years ago), they had a paper-lottery process: bins of mail, and it was shuffled randomly using... get this... a leaf blower in the stair well. :-) (We have a picture somewhere.) And it took 6 weeks from the deadline until you got your results.