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Wisconsin parks see surge amidst pandemic

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(WAOW) -- During the pandemic the Wisconsin Policy Forum noticed a spike in park use. Now, they have some recommendations for upkeep and preservation of those parks.

"We don't advocate one way or another in terms of saying lawmakers need to set aside more money but we do lay out some of the challenges around funding for these programs," Wisconsin Public Forum Communications Director Mark Sommerhauser said.

When money is allocated for parks, local administrators say the funds are helpful for paying employees to take care of the parks and purchasing more land for additional parks.

"Anytime money is given to outdoor recreation I think is a positive thing. We're limited on funds that we have at the county level so any support would be much appreciated," Portage County Park Director Ryan Rose said.

During the pandemic, spending time outside offered a safer way for people to get out of their homes without having to expose themselves to the virus.

"I think that when people get out to state parks and things that can help expose them to new outdoor experiences. Whether that's camping or hiking or maybe fishing, whatever they're doing there, it kind of exposes them to things they wouldn't necessarily find in their own neighborhood or backyard," Sommerhauser said.

As restrictions begin to loosen back up, parks continue to offer a safe activity for Wisconsin residents.

"You get outside, you don't have to have your masks on per se as long as you're social distancing. It gives you a chance to get some fresh air and outside of those areas where you couldn't do that," Rose said.

Brittany Slaughter

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