Marklein Votes For $2.2 Million More for State Parks
Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approves state park improvement projects.
MADISON – Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) voted to spend $2.2 million more on state parks as a member of the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. The investment is for park infrastructure and guest experience improvements such as site electrification, bathroom facility improvements, increased signage, parking lot expansions and more.
“We are investing a lot in our state parks this year,” Marklein said. “The JFC’s new $2.2 million allocation is on top of $2 million allocated in the state budget. Park visitors will be seeing a lot of improvements and remodeling this summer.”
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Parks Department requested the $2.2 million allocation from the State Parks Fund, which currently has a surplus of $10 million. Proposed projects include new campsite electrification, signage upgrades and additions, new fire rings, bathroom facility improvements, picnic tables, parking lot expansion and repairs to a building at Devil’s Lake State Park.
“Several parks in the 17th Senate District will be improved this summer with these new funds,” Marklein said. “There will be projects at Governor Dodge State Park, Wyalusing State Park, Bluemound State Park and Devil’s Lake State Park in and near the 17th Senate District. Other parks throughout the state will see similar improvements.”
“The Park Fund surplus and these investments are possible because of the flexibility the legislature provided to the state park system to manage rates based on demand,” Marklein said. “The demand-based pricing model is working. We are capitalizing on busy parks and discounting less busy parks to drive traffic to all of our terrific parks!”
“Our minor price increases have not impacted park attendance. In fact, according to the DNR, reservations are on pace to beat 2017, which was a record year. Wisconsinites and out-of-state visitors are visiting our parks in record numbers. This is great news and we must re-invest in these jewels to improve the visitor experience. Our investments will accomplish this goal.”
There are 45 state parks, 15 state trails, two National scenic trails, eight southern forests and seven recreation areas in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has 5,087 campsites, 1,420 acres of picnic areas and 32 beaches. Our parks boast 2,160 miles of hiking trails, 1,964 miles of snowmobile trails and 1,230 miles of bike trails.