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Wisconsin state park visits surge amid coronavirus pandemic



Kohler-Andrae State Park, Sheboygan, Wis. (PHOTO: Wisconsin DNR)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — More people are flocking to Wisconsin state parks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

WMTV-TV reports that state parks officials report a 12% increase in both visitation and camping. The Department of Natural Resources said it pulled in more than $15 million from vehicle admission fees and trail passes from January through August. That’s a 21% increase from the same period in 2019.

Renee Hable, of Madison, said she and her husband had to find a new adventure amid the pandemic. So they challenged themselves to visit 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.”

Missy Vanlanduyt, Wisconsin state parks recreation partnerships section chief, predicted the trend will continue 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.

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

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