WISCONSIN (WKOW)-- The government shutdown has created a lot of confusion as to which parks and trails are still open to the public. Wisconsin's DNR has heard from hundreds of wildlife enthusiasts looking for a place to go.
"Because they want to come hiking. They want to know if the gate is going to be open or not for them," Governor Nelson State Park Manager Rene' Lee says.
Two days into the government shutdown DNR park managers like Lee are dealing with lots of questions. Many people are asking them which parks and trails are still open during the shutdown.
"They just automatically assume that parks are parks," Lee says.
But each park is different. Many don't realize the current government shutdown has only closed down federally funded parks and wild life areas.
"The DNR parks are funded mostly by state funding and mostly by user fees so our state parks remain open," Wisconsin State Park Director Dan Schuller says.
Federally funded properties such as the Nicolet National Forest and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are closed during the shutdown, but all state and county funded parks and trails will remain open no matter how long the shutdown carries on.
Schuller says that shutdowns have actually helped attendance in the past. In 2011, Minnesota's state government shut down just before 4th of July weekend and hundreds of campers came over to Wisconsin. Depending on how long the current federal shutdown lasts, the same effect could happen again.
"People kind of opt for the public facilities that are open and then when they find Wisconsin parks are available to them and what a great experience it is. They continue to come back," Schuller says.
For more information about which parks and trails are open during the shutdown visit the DNR's website at http://dnr.wi.gov/
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