Walker Budget Cuts State Parks Funding, Raises Fees

Feb 17, 2015

Amnicon Falls State Park in northern Wisconsin.
Credit Paul Weimer, Flickr

Wisconsin's state parks would become more self-sustaining, under Gov. Walker's proposed 2015-2017 budget.

It reduces general purpose revenues to the parks by $4.6 million each year. To cover some of those losses, the governor's budget would move in money from the parks conservation fund and add utilities funding. The overall loss to the state park system's operating budget then amounts to approximately $1.1 million in each of the next two years.

To help plug the hole, Walker proposes higher fees for park users. Campsite fees would rise by $2 dollars per night and the annual state park vehicle entrance fee would increase by $3.

According to state records, more than 15 million visitors used Wisconsin's state parks in 2014. Some fare better than others in being self-sustaining, often because of their geography or the fact they offer other amenities such as golfing or eateries.