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VISITORS FLOCKING TO WISCONSIN STATE PARKS

June 12, 2012

Reservations 9 percent ahead of previous year - electrification improvements underway

MADISON - The attraction of Wisconsin State Parks as family friendly, affordable and fun places to visit for a day, a weekend, a week or longer continues to grow with advanced camping reservations up 9.3 percent over the same period in 2011.

"State parks and trails have always offered a great experience at a great value and we welcome the surge in visitors," said Kimberly Currie, of the Wisconsin State Parks program.

Overall advance registrations are up and the number of campers taking advantage of Wisconsin's online campsite reservation continues to grow also. Advanced online reservations are up 11.5 percent over 2011. The online reservation service allows camper to reserve a site up to 11 months in advance making vacation planning a little less stressful and makes it possible, with a little luck, to reserve that special campsite you love.

Another area of great growth officials saw was from walk-in campers who did not have reservations, which were up more than 78 percent over 2011.

"We're seeing growth in demand across the entire park system," said Currie, "but one of the areas of greatest increased demand is for electrified campsites. This summer we are launching a major project to upgrade numerous existing electric sites to a higher amperage service and we are bringing electricity to additional sites all across the parks system.

"The upgrades and additions force us to take some campsites out of use while work is underway both for visitor safety and for project efficiency. We extend our sincere apologies to customers who may not be able to book a favorite site while this work is underway but we promise that when it is done they are going to like the improvements."

Campsite availability will be updated through the online reservation system with sites being added to the reservable inventory as soon as work is complete. The reservation system contractor has operators available at 1-888-947-2757 from 9 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 9 a.m. till 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m on Saturday and Sunday to help customers find available campsites. Customers may also access our on line reservation system at . http://wisconsinstateparks.reserveamerica.com/

"I think the saying, 'pardon our dust' is fitting in this case," says Currie. "We'll keep all parks and trails open except for a short time those areas under active construction. All the traditional activities parks offer from hiking to swimming, picnicking to fishing, interpretive talks and walks and our newest initiative, 'Read to Lead' are humming along."

Read to Lead in Wisconsin State Parks

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is teaming with Wisconsin's statewide Read to Lead initiative to encourage kids and families to read everywhere—including the great outdoors! Each week in 2012 a new pairing of a state park and nature book will be featured. These books, geared towards ages 5 to 9, are available for reading at the parks or local libraries.

Kids, read (or have someone read to you) the book of the week and see how it relates to the state park! Read 20 or more books in 2012 and enter to win a Kindle Fire® or other prizes! Enjoy special nature programs at some parks during their "Read to Lead" week

To find participating parks, the reading list and how to enter for the prize drawings go to dnr.wi.gov and search for the keywords "read to lead".

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dave Benish 608-264-8960 or Bob Manwell - 608-264-9248

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 12, 2012




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