Wis. DNR Compromises on State Park Hunting

December 12, 2012 by · Comments Off on Wis. DNR Compromises on State Park Hunting 

The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board has approved a plan restricting hunting in state parks. It also limited the dates hunting will be allowed, WISC-TV, Madison, reported.

The board met Tuesday in Madison, where it heard from scores of residents upset about the new law opening up nearly all of Wisconsin’s state parks and trails to hunting.

Because of public backlash in recent weeks, the state Department of Natural Resources proposed a compromise for the board to consider. The DNR suggested making about 36% of state parkland off-limits for any hunting.

The board accepted that proposal, and went further by limiting the hunting seasons. Whereas the DNR proposed allowing hunting in the remaining parks between mid-October and late-May, the board restricted hunting to one month in autumn and another in April.

The law prohibits hunting and setting of traps within 100 yards of trails and other designated areas. Still, some speakers at Tuesday’s meeting said they are concerned about gunfire and traps in areas frequented by families and pets.

“A state park is not for hunting,” said Denny Dewing, speaking at the Natural Resources Board’s hearing.

Other speakers said hunters already have enough access to hunting grounds.

“I’m just requesting that they go back to the legislature and admit that they cannot safely implement the law,” said Sheila Williams, a speaker at the Natural Resources Board’s hearing.

The law, Act 168, otherwise known as the “Sporting Heritage Bill,” gives hunters and trappers permission to use state park land starting next year.

Dan Schuller, director of Wisconsin’s state parks, said he believes there’s enough room for everyone at the parks.

“By separating out these activities, we’re providing a quality experience both for our hunters and trappers, as well as our other users in parks,” Schuller said.

Schuller said wildlife control is another advantage to opening up park land to hunters and trappers.


Wisconsin to Tighten Imported Firewood Net?

October 22, 2012 by · Comments Off on Wisconsin to Tighten Imported Firewood Net? 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants to tighten the noose around the forests’ most damaging invaders by reducing to 10 miles the distance from which a state campground user may carry in firewood.

Paul DeLong, the state’s chief forester, says the increased presence of invasive pests such as the emerald ash borer, beech bark disease, and oak wilt is behind the recommendation to go before the Natural Resources Board on Oct. 24, the Price County Daily, Phillips, Wis., reported.

The current rule states only firewood originating from 25 miles or less may be brought onto a state forest or state property or wood that comes from a vendor certified by the state as treating their wood to stop the transmission of pests or diseases.

“Buying local or certified firewood is an excellent way to prevent the movement of pest and disease that can damage our forests and community trees,” DeLong said.

If DeLong’s recommendation is supported by the board at their October meeting, a draft rule change would be prepared and be slated for public hearings. If ultimately approved, the new rule would take effect in roughly two years.

DeLong says slicing the allowable travel distance for firewood onto state property to 10 miles will better protect trees – a valuable state natural resource important to the state’s economy.

“This is the prudent step to take when it comes to the health of the state’s forests,” DeLong said. “It is important to note private homes and private property would not be affected by the suggested reduction in the distance firewood may be transported. This only pertains to state lands – notably state campgrounds.”

Delong also stressed the offer to reconfigure that distance limit from the current 25 miles to a new 10 mile limit is simply that – an idea. “This is up for discussion with the Natural Resources Board. It is not yet a proposed rule to be officially considered by the public or the Legislature. If the board approves us to move forward, we will develop a draft proposal and begin seeking public input on the idea.”


Wisconsin State Park Camp Bookings Up 8%

July 30, 2012 by · Comments Off on Wisconsin State Park Camp Bookings Up 8% 

The number of people camping in Wisconsin state parks is on the upturn.

“Our advanced reservations are up about 8 percent compared to last year, and we’re currently having a real phenomenal season that we expect will continue,” David Benish, camping program manager for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Parks and Recreation Office, told the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune.

Benish estimates that the negative effects of the economy in recent years, combined with high gas prices and the opening of two new state parks, have all contributed to the increased interest in camping statewide. Governor Thompson State Park in Marinette County opened in 2000, and a campground opened at Harrington Beach State Park in Ozaukee County within the past five years.

About 123,000 advanced camping reservations were placed at Wisconsin state parks in 2011, compared with about 114,500 advanced reservations placed in 2007.

More than 480,000 total reservations were placed with state parks last year, Benish said.


Good Weather Helps Wisconsin Parks Report Steady Traffic

June 19, 2012 by · Comments Off on Good Weather Helps Wisconsin Parks Report Steady Traffic 

A healthy dose of nice weather through late spring is helping boost occupancy rates at campgrounds in Central Wisconsin.

“The weather has been beautiful, the pool is up and running, and we’ve had people come in for a day that have ended up staying a week,” Lisa Fassbender, an employee at Apple Creek Campground near Wrightstown, told the Appleton Post-Crescent. “Next week we have a few sites available, and that’s it.”

A combination of favorable weather and some travelers sticking closer to home are among factors keeping the 135-site campground busy so far this season, she said.

Click here to read the entire story.

In a related development, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says more people are camping in state parks.

According to The Associated Press, agency officials say camping reservations are up 9.3 percent from the same time in 2011.

Online reservations are up 11.5 percent and the number of walk-in campers without reservations has jumped nearly 80 percent.

DNR officials say electrified campsites are in especially high demand.

They say they’re working to bring electricity to more campsites and upgrade existing electric sites with higher amperage service.

Wisconsin DNR Proposes New Camping Fees

May 5, 2010 by · Comments Off on Wisconsin DNR Proposes New Camping Fees 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wants comments on a proposal to raise some camping fees, according to the Associated Press.

The DNR wants to increase nightly camping fees in six northern state forests from $10 to $12 per campsite for rustic campgrounds. The agency says those prices would be in line with fees for similar camping experiences elsewhere.

Nightly fees in four Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest campgrounds and one Black River State Forest campground would increase from $12 to $15 per night. The DNR says those campgrounds offer advanced amenities.

The DNR also wants to raise camping fees at Rock Island State Park from $12 to $15 per night, saying it’s the most expensive state park to run.

Public hearings on the proposals are set for May 17 in Madison and May 18 in Woodruff.

Wisconsin Campground Reservations Up 6%

May 6, 2009 by · Comments Off on Wisconsin Campground Reservations Up 6% 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said that camping reservations as of March 30 were up 6% over last year. And the typical reservation length is now just shy of four days, which indicates longer stays for many travelers. 

Many local families looking to take a weekend getaway are getting away much closer to home now, which is why a shift to more budget-friendly plans could mean better business for Wisconsin parks, WISC-TV, Madison, reported. 

Amanda Gabel said her 5-year-old son, James Baures, loves camping. 

The family of three drove from Monona, Iowa, about an hour to Governor Dodge State Park. They said the weekend vacation was planned with the economy in mind. 

“It’s a lot cheaper to eat, because you don’t eat out,” said Gabel. “You pay to stay here, but nowhere near what you would pay for a motel.” 

“It’s an easy way to not spend a lot of money but still have a good time,” said Kathy Gruentzel, supervisor at Governor Dodge State Park. 

Gruentzel said the park has noticed an increase in reservations. 

“I think a lot of them aren’t looking for those long two-week, cross-country kind of things,” said Gruentzel. “They’re staying closer to home.”