Free fishing, park access this weekend in WisconsinFree fishing clinics, loaner fishing equipment and interactive maps showing easy family-friendly hikes and organized ATV rides are among the tools aimed at helping Wisconsin residents and visitors make the most of free outdoor fun on June 1-2.
MADISON – Free fishing clinics, loaner fishing equipment and interactive maps showing easy family-friendly hikes and organized ATV rides are among the tools aimed at helping Wisconsin residents and visitors make the most of free outdoor fun on June 1-2.
On these days, Wisconsin residents and visitors can fish for free, hike or bike state trails for free, and ride public ATV trails for free. On Sunday, June 2 only, they can enjoy free admission to state parks and forests.
More information on the free activities, places to go to enjoy them, can be found on DNR’s website, dnr.wi.gov and search “free fun.”
Family friendly hikes
A new interactive map helps guide people to dozens of easy trails or trail segments suitable for families with young children and for those looking for shorter, flatter trails featuring lots to look at. Some of them are located on state trails, which are free on both June 1-2. Others are in state parks, where admission to the state parks is free only on Sunday, June 1.
“These trails are easy enough for the whole family to enjoy and they’ll take you past some beautiful scenery,” says Brigit Brown, Department of Natural Resources trail coordinator. “Serene waterfalls, cool old railroad tunnels, the vast expanse of Lake Michigan, and the mighty Mississippi – these are just some of the awesome sites along the Wisconsin state trails we’ve highlighted here on the map.”
Free fishing clinics and fishing equipment for loan
Theresa Stabo, DNR aquatic education director, says the free fishing weekend is a great opportunity for beginners to learn how to fish.
“We have places to take kids and beginners fishing and people there to help them get started on this life-long activity that connects them to each other and their natural resources,” Stabo says.
Dozens of free fishing clinics are scheduled over the two-day weekend, some of them at state parks and others sponsored by conservation groups, civic groups, or local parks and recreation departments.
“Many of our partners are offering clinics to people of all ages to welcome those adults who may have missed the boat when they were kids,” Stabo says. “And those clinics geared for younger children require a parent to accompany them. That way the parent will learn right along with the child and [be able to] continue fishing as a family activity long after Free Fishing Weekend has come and gone.”
Most of the fishing clinics will provide the fishing equipment (some for loan, some for keeps), instruction and bait necessary.
Basic fishing gear is also available at 50 DNR locations so people can try out fishing without committing to buying the equipment. She encourages people to check the list of loaner sites and arrange to pick up equipment from those DNR offices that are open only during weekdays. About half of the 50 loaner sites are stationed at state park offices, which are open on the weekends. Equipment at those sites is available on a first-come, first serve basis.
The tackle loaner locations, a list of the free fishing clinics and a list of places to take kids and beginners fishing can be found on the Free Fun page of the DNR website.
ATV/UTV event listings
An interactive map on the Wisconsin ATV Association website shows 10 listings of events or rides to help get in on the free wheelin’ fun. www.watva.org (exit DNR).