Keeping the silent sports community informed and self propelled.
Enthusiasts of safe and silent recreation on state land in Wisconsin are mobilizing against Act 168, a new law that will open nearly all state parks and trails to hunting and trapping from October 15 through the Thursday before Memorial Day, starting January 1, 2013.
Hunting and trapping will be prohibited within 100 yards of "designated use areas," such as campgrounds and beaches and the Ice Age Trail, but many trails enjoyed by hikers, cross-country skiers and mountain bikers will not be off limits to hunters during the extended seven-month hunting season.
Concerned citizens are urged to attend the Tuesday, December 11, meeting in Madison of the Natural Resources Board, at which Department of Natural Resources officials will seek the NRB's approval of the agency plan to implement Act 168. The meeting agenda can be found here.
There is an online petition asking the NRB "to delay the implementation of Act 168 until safety and legal issues are resolved."
More information about how the law could be detrimental for the majority of nonhunting visitors to Peninsula State Park in Door County and other state parks can be read here.
Maps of the proposed open and closed areas in each state park can now be reviewed online here.
News of the relatively quick passage of the law earlier this year has prompted belated opposition. Most of the people who spoke at a series of public hearings hosted by the NRB in October urged the board and DNR to close more areas of state parks to hunting than the DNR has proposed.
To watch video of some of the 60 people who testified at the October 29 hearing in Fitchburg, go here (for 14 minutes of testimony, including from a couple trappers) and here (for three minutes more). More extensive videotaped coverage shot by Ann Emerson is available here and here (about 45 minutes each; in the latter clip, starting 13:39 in, I can be seen testifying).
In the December issue of Silent Sports, ultrarunner and nonmotorized trails advocate Jason Dorgan explained his concerns about how Act 168 came to be and suggests how park and trail users might respond. His piece can be read here and more discussion about it can be found on the Silent Sports Facebook Page here.
Dorgan's article has also prompted some letters which will appear in the January print edition of Silent Sports.