This past week I’ve been getting geek’d about the upcoming cross-country ski season and found some information about ACT 168. It’s a Wisconsin State law that was passed earlier this year and affects the state forests in Wisconsin. Basically the law lifted existing restrictions on hunting and opened up all state park land to hunting from Oct 15 to the weekend before Memorial Day.
As I researched more I found a great article about this issue on OnMilwaukee.com written by Tom Held. I pulled this quote from Tom’s article because it captures the simplest explanation. “Among its recommendations, the DNR staff proposes to impose a 100-yard buffer zone along heavily used trails, including the Glacial-Drumlin and the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Hunters will be allowed to carry guns on the trails, but prohibited from active hunting in those areas.” I don’t know about you but I hope this doesn’t increase the foot traffic of people with guns on hiking trails, mountain bike trails and the beautifully groomed ski trails.
Digging deeper I have more questions and found a page on the Sierra Club website and read about how this law also limits individual parks from having their own restrictions. Any changes to the restrictions in the law need to be approved by the DNR board. Here is link to the Sierra Club Wisconsin Info. That is concerning because shouldn’t parks that are managing nice hiking trails, mountain bike trails, and X-C ski trails get to keep their occupants safe?
The four or five main parks I ski, hike, and ride at have amazing park staff and I feel they have the best interest in mind for the majority of people utilizing the park, however I’d feel way more comfortable if they had the control to make decisions about restrictions on the park they manage. So what does this mean…it means I’m going to write a letter and make my voice heard and will most likely pick out some blaze orange for my ski gear this year.
To make your voice heard here is how to make it so!
Comments to the board should be emailed to DNRWisconsinParks@Wisconsin.gov by Nov. 23, or mailed to Wisconsin State Parks – Act 168, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI., 53707-7921.