Thursday, October 7, 2021
A measure that would provide $5.6 million for water infrastructure projects potentially finishing all high and medium priority projects identified by the DNR.
There is important legislation working its way through state government that is vital for State Parks. Senator Cowles, Rep Kitchens and Rep Tusler are sponsoring a measure that would provide $5.6 million for water infrastructure projects potentially finishing all high and medium priority projects identified by the DNR. These include drinking water, water lines, septic, and shower facilities. This is critically important in this era of under-funding state lands.
Friends of Wisconsin State Parks support LRB 0220 and we are asking Friends Group to contact their legislators to ask them to become bill co-sponsors and support this measure. Below are talking points that can be used to discuss this with your legislator.
Anyone who visits a property in the Wisconsin State Park System knows that these are truly special places. But despite the enjoyment from some of our state’s best opportunities for outdoor recreation, dilapidated infrastructure can create a lasting impression of our State Park System that can be hard to break. Unfortunately, with hundreds, if not thousands of backlogged infrastructure projects, there’s far too many opportunities for these impressions to be made.
While many backlogged infrastructure projects in the State Park System are less urgent, other rundown infrastructure, often decades old, can cause concern for human health and water quality. Building on the efforts from recent sessions, LRB 0220/1 provides $5.6 million in authorized but unobligated Stewardship bonding authority from the most recent fiscal year to complete necessary health and safety water infrastructure upgrades in our State Parks System.
The projects completed from this bill are at the highest risk of failure. These properties include Governor Dodge, Mirror Lake, Nelson Dewey, New Glarus Woods, Rib Mountain, Wyalusing, Hartman Creek, Merrick, Newport, Perrot, Potawatomi, Rocky Arbor, Willow River State Park, Governor Earl Peshtigo River, Kettle Moraine State Forests, Kinnickinnic, Kohler-Andrae, Lake Wissota, Mill Bluff, Potawatomi, Rib Mountain, Rocky Arbor, Tower Hill, Brule River, Governor Knowles, Peshtigo River, Northern Highland-American Legion State Forests, Cadiz Springs, MacKenzie Center and others.
Most visitors will never notice that the water infrastructure is up-to-date. But if those fixtures are run down or out-of-service, it may impact the visitor’s experience in our State Parks and may impact their plans to come back or visit other State Parks in the future. Further, an isolated illness or outbreak of water-related disease at our State Parks would not only be devastating to those impacted and their loved ones, but could cause ripple effects and harm our entire outdoors-based tourism industry.
The upgrades in LRB 0220/1 have the potential to make positive and needed improvements at 36 properties across 30 counties. These upgrades will benefit the residents and tourists who contributed to 20 million visits to State Park System properties in 2020 and will help to ensure that number continues to grow.
Friday, June 11, 2021
JOINT FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS INCREASING FRIEND GROUP STEWARDSHIP GRANTS
Many FWSP Board Members and Friend Group leaders have been engaged in this legislative season. Governor Tony Evers released his budget in April while the powerful Joint Finance Committee (JFC) hopes to complete their budget later this month. One of FWSP’s legislative priorities is increasing the Stewardship Friends Groups Grants. The “Friends” message is coming across loud and clear as both Governor Evers and the JFC are recommending huge increases. Governor Evers recommended the grant program is expanded from $250k to $1M, while the JFC raises it to $500K. This is wonderful news for the many Friends Groups who rely on these monies for projects. The state budget still has to go through a reconciliation process and will be sent to Governor Evers later this summer. Friends to
Friends will keep you posted on this and other legislative priorities. Until the budget is done, it’s never too late to contact your legislator. Visit FWSP.org and click on legislative priorities for more information.
A special thanks to everyone who contacted their legislator including FWSP Board Members Jerry Leiterman and Randy Paske, Friends of Hartman Creek Alice Williams, Friends of Bigfoot Beach Chris and John Ecklund, Friends of Peninsula Chris Holicek and Steve Strucely, and Friends of the Hank Aaron Trail Dan Adams.