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Contact(s): Kate Fitzgerald, 608-267-2764
January 26, 2016

MADISON - The public will have an opportunity at an upcoming public hearing to comment in person on a proposed rule changes governing activities, visitor use and management of state properties including parks, forests, trails and other recreation areas.

The Department of Natural Resources is proposing a broad range of changes to Chapter NR 45, Wis. Admin. Code, the principal rule governing activities on and use of properties it manages.

"This chapter is reviewed and revisions are proposed on a regular basis; however it has been more than five years since this rule has been reviewed and any revisions have been approved," said Sanjay Olson, administrator of the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Proposed rule changes include modifications to the campsite reservation process, updates to language regarding the state trails system, updates to fee structures, and amending existing language to allow for all-terrain and utility terrain vehicles to be designated on roads open to motor vehicles on DNR properties through a master planning process.

The hearing will also address changes to Chapter 51, Wis. Admin. Code, relating to the administration of the Stewardship grant program, including adding state water trails to the list of state trails eligible for funding under the Stewardship program.

The complete list of proposed changes and other documents are available on the Wisconsin Administrative Rules website.

The public hearing will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Feb., 1, 2016 at the DNR Fitchburg Service Center, 3911 Fish Hatchery Road. Written comments may also be sent by Feb. 1, 2016 to Kathryn Fitzgerald, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison WI, 43707-7921 or by email to A summary of some of the proposed rule changes include:

Camping reservations

The proposed rule changes include placing restrictions on canceling camping reservations made at the maximum window, 11 months prior to arrival, to prevent customers from using the reservation system to keep control of a campsite by cancelling and rebooking camping site reservations until they get their desired dates.

Motorized bikes on state trails

Under the proposed rule changes, the use of motorized bicycles would be allowed state trails open to bicycles provided that the motor is not engaged unless it is an electric bike operated at less than 15 miles per hour.

State Water Trail

The proposed rule changes update the language regarding the state trail system to create a definition for state water trails. This provides structure and authority for the new state water trail program approved by the Natural Resources Board and codifies the Lake Michigan Water Trail, the first designated state water trail, as part of the state trail system.

Last Revised: Tuesday, January 26, 2016

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