November 2, 2012

(Madison, Wis.) – The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks (FWSP), an organization with a mission to preserve, protect and enhance Wisconsin’s state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas, continues to oppose that part of Wis. Act 168 that opens state parks and trails to hunting and trapping.

Earlier this year, FWSP urged the Legislature not to open parks and trails to hunting and trapping.  Despite the fact that the Natural Resources Board and the DNR did not ask for this law, and that FWSP and other park and trail users objected to it, the law was passed without any public hearing or comment.

Now the Natural Resources Board and the DNR are forced to implement a law that is fundamentally at odds with the purposes of state parks.  The DNR has tried to identify times for closure and areas to be closed to hunting and trapping and still provide safety to the majority of park and trail users, but it is an impossible task.  Wisconsin statute 27.01 states that the purpose of state parks is “to provide areas for public recreation and for public education in conservation and nature study. An area may qualify as a state park by reason of its scenery, its plants and wildlife, or its historical, archaeological or geological interest."  Act 168 tries to mix hunting with lethal weapons with recreational and educational use across broad areas at park and trail properties that compromises the safety of the millions of park visitors each year who hike, bike, ski, bird watch, walk dogs, and who enjoy the solitude of nature. 

FWSP has received comments from its members and local Friends groups overwhelmingly opposed to opening parks and trails to hunting and trapping.  The sentiment is overwhelmingly, “Open to hunting means closed to us.”  Park and trail users and Friends of these areas will go elsewhere for their recreation, something that will be devastating to Wisconsin’s local economies that depend on recreational tourism, and could mean the loss of thousands of volunteer hours that Friends provide to maintain these state properties.

FWSP encourages park and trail users to voice their concerns regarding Act 168 by:

  • Attending and speaking at a public listening session;
  • Sending written comments to the Natural Resources Board; and
  • Contacting your local legislator
For more information about listening session dates and to submit a written comment, go to

Since 1996, FWSP’s mission has been to “preserve, protect and enhance Wisconsin’s state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas.”  This mission is also shared by 80 other local Friends groups around the state.]

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