Wisconsin may sell naming rights for state parks

The secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says she's considering selling naming rights to state parks.

The sales could take place in the next two years, according to DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp, who testified recently at a legislative budget hearing. She told the Legislature's budget committee that she's looking ways to raise money for state parks.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposes eliminating tax support for the public parks and raising fees for admission and camping.

Now Stepp has told lawmakers that everything's on the table in terms of raising funds, including naming rights.

Assembly Democrats Chris Taylor and Gordon Hintz, both members of the Joint Committee on Finance, on March 3 released a joint statement: "After four years of budget mismanagement, the governor and his administration are pulling out all the stops to make us see the $2.2 billion Walker deficit through rose-colored glasses. Apparently freezing the Stewardship Program, kneecapping the DNR board and raising user fees is not enough. Now the governor and his DNR secretary may intend to sell off naming rights to our state's public parks to the highest bidder.

"Wisconsinites value their unique heritage and pristine nature of state parks and recreation areas. No one is asking for a corporate sell-out of our state parks. Rather than eliminating our commitment to Wisconsin's shared values, we should continue to make smart investments in the numerous outdoor opportunities that generate $1 billion in economic activity each year. Wisconsin is a great place to work and play, and is a destination for visitors from around the globe. Let's keep it that way."

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