A private group that supports Wisconsin state parks is taking a close look at the governor’s budget. Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget grants the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources permission to raise admission and camping fees according to demand.
Bill Zager is president of Friends of Wisconsin State Parks.
“You can reach the tipping point. You can raise the entrance fees or the parking fees for the camping to the point where you’re going to lose users, and that’t not what we’re all about,” Zager said. “You want to make sure you don’t price the less fortunate out of the ability to visit those parks.”
Zager said Wiscosnin parks have always had a reputation as pristine. “But with the cutback in funds the last few years and the cutback in staff by having open positions, we have heard where people find the trials not quite as trimmed, and the facilities not quite as kept up as far as maintenance.”
Wisconsin’s parks face an annual $1.4 million budget shortfall, even though Governor Walker and lawmakers approved fee increases in the 2015-17 budget.