Dane Co. Parks Commission holds public hearing on increased fees proposal

Riding your bike, spending time at the dog park or taking your boat out to Lake Monona could cost more for some Dane County residents starting next year.
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 10:30 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Spending time outdoors might cost you a little extra starting next year.

The cost of permits for lake access, bike trails and dog parks are all slated to increase next year. Boaters, bikers and dog owners could be facing an $8 to $10 increase in permit fees.

At a public hearing regarding proposed fee increases, residents like Grant Abert told Dane Co. commissioners the raised costs will make parks less accessible.

“I would hate to see the fee structure rise to the point where it makes the parks inaccessible to the people who want to use them,” Abert said.

Park officials attributed the uptick in prices to the increasing costs of maintaining park facilities.

“I want the parks funded,” Coral Conant Gilles added. “You put it on the ballot, and I will check off ‘fund the parks’ every single time. But, I want it to come in a way that’s going to be sustainable and that’s not going to push people out of being able to use those parks.”

The owner of one business that runs through the parks, Wild Harvest, said the price increase may be enough to force them to relocate.

Abert echoed the owner’s thoughts.

“I think that would be terrible,” Abert said. “I don’t think there’s been adequate consideration about all of the consequences of this fee increase.”

The parks commission did not vote on the proposal today. They will take the public’s feedback and reconvene on Sept. 28.