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Visitors flock to Wisconsin state parks and a Madison couple hits nearly every one.

Wisconsin State Parks officials report a 12 percent increase in both visitation and camping.
Published: Oct. 18, 2020 at 11:19 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -New data shows more people are flocking to Wisconsin state parks compared to previous years.

Wisconsin state parks officials report a 12 percent increase in both visitation and camping.

Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials said in Jan.-Aug. 2020, the DNR pulled in an estimated $15.168 million in revenue from vehicle admission fees and trail passes. It’s a 21 percent from the same time period in 2019.

Amid the pandemic, a Madison woman challenged herself to visit every state park in the badger state.

“The state parks system is amazing. There’s city parks. There’s historic parks,” Renee Hable, Madison resident said.

Hable said she and her husband are avid travelers. But amid the pandemic , they had to find a new adventure.

“So we ended up doing this state park bucket list,” Hable said.

She challenged herself to hit every state park in Wisconsin. They started in March and finished Oct. 13. The final tally was 48 out of 49 parks visited.

“Every time we’d come home I’d say, ‘can’t believe we just saw that,” she said. Really, it kept our sanity because travel is a big part of our lives.”

Wisconsin state parks officials said they’ve seen a big increase in visitation, and the pandemic is responsible.

“We’re seeing increased visitation during the week and the weekend,” Missy Vanlanduyt, Wisconsin state parks recreation partnerships section chief said.

Vanlanduyt predicts the same outcome for the fall and winter seasons.

“The outdoors provide a scenic opportunity where people can adequately social distance and stay away from crowds,” Vanlanduyt said.

Hable said she encourages everyone to be a tourist in their own backyard.

“It’ was the best $28 investment. I don’t think there’s another investment in entertainment that could beat it,” Hable said.

The only state park the Hables weren’t able to visit was Rock Island in Door County because it remains closed. When it opens, they plan to check the last state park off their bucket list.

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