Annual State Park and Trail stickers would be good for a full year, under a bill being proposed at the Capitol.
Passes can currently only be used for the calendar year in which they were bought, while legislation from state Representative Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie) would make them valid for 12 months from the date of purchase. The Sun Prairie Democrat believes that would encourage people to use state parks more often and be more willing to purchase an annual pass, instead of just the daily rate.
Hebl says he’s heard from several people who will not buy an annual pass after July, likely reducing the chance they will visit a park again in the second half of the year. “It’s a discouragement, currently, and I want it to be an encouragement,” he says.
Owners of vehicles with a state-issued plate currently pay $28 for an annual state park pass, while the daily rate for visits is $8.
Another bill the lawmaker says he’s working on would retire the use of a pass system for state trails. Those passes generated $1.14 million in revenue for the state in 2016. Hebl argues the state could make up for that lost revenue by having the DNR more aggressively pursue fines for those who violate state environmental regulations.
A spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources declined to comment on the bills, citing their status as pending legislation.