DNR offers no fees days in June
MADISON - For two days in June, Wisconsin residents and visitors can enjoy some of the best outdoor recreation for free.
On June 7-8, people can fish for free anywhere in Wisconsin, hike or bike state trails for free, ride public ATV trails for free, and, new this year, enjoy free admission to state parks and forests on both days as well.
"Free Fun weekend is a great way for friends and families to enjoy the great outdoor throughout Wisconsin," says Preston Cole, Natural Resources Board chairman. "And, if you already have your fishing license or parks sticker, take someone new along to enjoy the free fun."
Covered on June 7-8:
Free state parks admission
For the first time, vehicle admission fees to Wisconsin State Park System properties are waived for both June 7 and 8. Previously, the state park system's longstanding free open house was only the first Sunday in June; this year, vehicle admission fees have been waived for both the first Saturday and Sunday in June.
People who camp at state parks will still pay for their campsites and other events or programs on those two days may require a fee as well.
Free fishing applies to all Wisconsin waters. No fishing license is needed to fish any waters -- this includes inland trout and Great Lakes trout and salmon fishing, which normally would require a trout stamp in addition to a license. Fishing rules such as limits on the length and species of fish that can be kept do apply, however.
So far, more than two dozen free fishing clinics are scheduled across the state to help encourage people to try fishing.
Free loaner equipment is available at more than 50 locations, including many state parks, DNR offices, and partner organizations, according to Theresa Stabo, DNR aquatic education director. People interested in borrowing gear should check for a loaner location near them or near where they will be fishing and arrange to get the equipment.
Free state trails
All state trail pass fees on all DNR-owned state trails are waived. Cooperatively-run state trails also may waive fees. Normally, a state trail pass is required for all people age 16 or older biking, in-line skating, horseback riding, cross-country skiing or off-highway motorcycling on certain trails. A state trail pass is not required for walking or hiking.
Free ATV riding on public trails open to such use
For the second year, Wisconsin residents and nonresidents can ride their ATVs or UTVs on public trails for free on those two days. A law advanced by the Wisconsin ATV Association and passed in 2012 created the free weekend.
Normally, Wisconsin residents have to register their ATVs or UTVs with DNR for public use to operate on public trails, or other areas open to the public like frozen water bodies. Nonresident riders normally have to buy a nonresident trail pass to ride on these areas in Wisconsin. On June 7 and 8, the registration and trail pass fees are waived. All other ATV and UTV regulations apply during the weekend.