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DNR policy board eyes user fee hikes to support parks, programs
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DNR policy board eyes user fee hikes to support parks, programs

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Wisconsin’s natural resources policy board is seeking to increase fees for hunting licenses and park permits.

The Natural Resources Board unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday asking the Legislature to authorize “an increase in revenue and periodic review” of fees “to be used for the maintenance of state properties and the implementation of state programs.”

Board Chair Frederick Prehn noted the cost of fishing and hunting licenses hasn’t changed in 15 years, and duck stamps cost the same as they did in 1987 — $7 — and many users pay no fees.

Most state parks require a vehicle pass — $28 a year for state residents — but are free to those who come on foot or bicycle. State trail passes are required for biking, skiing, skating or horseback riding but not for hiking.

The board said the request is in response to “customers, citizens, and taxpayers” who want the revenue to support public facilities and programs.

Frederick Prehn

Prehn

“The public is shocked that we have not kept up with cost inflation,” Prehn said.

Respondents to a 2016 DNR survey were split on fee increases, with 43% in support and 44% opposed. However, a majority of those who said they don’t use parks, hunt or fish favored fee increases.

“This is our first shot over the bow to try to get some attention,” said board member Terry Hilgenberg.


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