Wisconsin seeing a surge into the outdoors

One of many campsites filled at Potawatomi State Park
One of many campsites filled at Potawatomi State Park(WBAY)
Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 3:37 PM CDT
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DOOR COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -New numbers released by the state show just how popular outdoor recreation has been in Wisconsin since pandemic began.

There's been a constant theme at just about every state park this summer.

Potawatomi State Park Superintendent Erin Brown Stender has witnessed it daily.

"People are certainly looking to get outside and enjoy the outdoors," says Brown Stender.

Since COVID-19 began impacting people’s lives in mid-March, the DNR reports visits to Wisconsin State Parks have totaled more than 6.4 million.

Parks in Door County have certainly seen the surge.

"Potawatomi, we had about 8,000 more visitors July of this year than what we average for July. Whitefish Dunes State Park had over 13,000 more visitors this year than what we typically see in a July," says Brown Stender.

Despite the increase in traffic, Brown Stender says campers are adjusting, seemingly grateful for the opportunity to have somewhere to go and get away.

"People seem to be finding their own kind of unique place in the park to visit and explore, I think it's probably bringing people to areas that they haven't visited before," explains Brown Stender.

Aside from state park use, other outdoor activities have also seen a spike.

Fishing license sales are up 14-percent and turkey license sales in the spring jumped 10-percent.

Perhaps a silver lining in this pandemic s that getting outside has never felt so important to so many people.

“Even those people that may not have been traditional state park users in the past, hopefully they’ve come out and visited a state park this year and make plans to continue to do that again in the future,” says Brown Stender.

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