Wisconsin's State Parks Electrification Update
For power-loving campers, the largest electrification project for the Wisconsin state park system in decades will be completed this month.
In all, 18 state parks and forests will have added electrical sites or upgraded existing ones, the Great Lakes Echo reported.
The two-year project, budgeted at $2 million project, created 192 new electrical sites and upgraded electrical systems at 285 more.
Work at some parks, including Roche-A-Cri in Adams County, Big Foot Beach in Lake Geneva and Kohler-Andrae near Sheboygan, is already complete. Work at Devil’s Lake near Baraboo and Peninsula in Door County is still in progress.
When the work is done, 1,172 of the 3,897 campsites in Wisconsin state parks will be electrified. That’s 30 percent, the maximum allowable level. The parks plan to add 119 new non-electric sites from 2013-15.
State law bars state campgrounds from offering more than 30 percent electric sites systemwide, with a 50 percent cap for any individual park.
Dan Schuller, state park director for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said Wisconsin may be the only state in the country with statutory limits on how many state park campsites can have electrical access.
Wisconsin’s state parks have one of the lowest rates of improved campsites in the country, according to a 2012 report by the National Association of State Park Directors. In most states, more than 60 percent of campsites have access to electricity and plumbing in restroom facilities.
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Editor's Note: This report was produced in a University of Wisconsin-Madison journalism class taught by Professor Deborah Blum, in collaboration with the nonprofit, nonpartisan Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Student Rebecca L. Smith contributed to this report.
The Center also collaborates with Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin Public Radio and other news media. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.