Dear Friends of Wisconsin State Parks,
Many of us have been hearing about state park funding and have questions about how it will affect our parks and trails. Local friends groups provide thousands of volunteer hours and have delivered approximately $100M dollars to help support the mission and activities of the Wisconsin state parks, forests, trails, and recreation areas.
BACKGROUND-At the request of the legislature, the DNR has proposed several funding changes that will have a fundamental effect on the future of WI state parks. Possibly, because of the success of local friends groups, the legislature has determined that the state park system can be self-funded.
Governor Walker will be introducing the 2017 biannual budget in February. No funding decisions have been made by DNR or the legislature.
FUNDING PROPOSALS-FWSP believes there is an opportunity to have a blended funding solution that ensures the future of our state park and doesn’t price out families or low income wage earners by continuing to emphasize fee increases. FWSP recommends these state park funding strategies:
- Support adding electricity to more campsites, but not all.
- Oppose park naming rights.
- Support sponsorship for infrastructure improvements. Sponsor recognition needs to be modest, details to be worked out.
- Support adding rental lodging. FWSP supports cabin or lodge type accommodations, not mass market, hotel style lodging.
- Oppose general (overall) fee increases; consider specific increases.
- Oppose shifting to individual admission passes from current vehicle admissions stickers for state parks. It makes enforcement difficult and discriminates against families & low income wage earners.
- Support resumption of GPR tax revenue for parks. Wisconsin might be the only state park system in the country that truly self-funds its state parks. This is the cornerstone of park funding.
President Bill Zager
Policy Chair Michael McFadzen