Daily admission and camping fees at Devil’s Lake State Park are set to increase as a new demand-based pricing structure for Wisconsin State Park System properties takes effect Feb. 15.
A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources press release said the changes are intended to encourage use and manage capacity at the properties, while providing funds for improvements at the sites.
“We believe this new pricing structure will help us better manage the demand we’re seeing at some of our highly used properties while encouraging use at our lesser visited properties,” said Ben Bergey, director of the Wisconsin State Park System.
There will be no increase in year-round admission prices to park system properties, but daily admission fees will increase at Devil’s Lake, Peninsula and Willow River state parks. Daily admission to Devil’s Lake will increase $5, with resident daily fees rising from $8 to $13 and non-resident daily fees increasing from $11 to $16.
Camping rates will be adjusted across the system based on demand, meaning fees will go up or down at different times of the year at certain properties based on visitation, according to the press release. Camping fees at Devil’s Lake for a site with electricity on weekends during the summer months are set to rise from $30 to $37, a 23 percent increase.
The 2017-19 state budget set new rates and authorities for the DNR, including the ability to adjust camping rates from the base rates set in statute, along with the authority to adjust daily admission fees from the base rates set in statute at all state properties.
The new fee structure comes after state Legislature cut all general-purpose funding for the parks system in 2015. Lawmakers at the time instructed the DNR to create a new business model that relies on revenue it can generate independently.
The changes have been approved by DNR Secretary Dan Meyer and will be reviewed by the Natural Resources Board at its next meeting Jan. 24 in Madison.