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Fall Adventures in Wisconsin’s Great Outdoors

getting outside has never felt so important

The Eau Claire River. Photo by Taylor Smith.
The Eau Claire River. 

People are connecting with Wisconsin’s great outdoors more than ever as the state continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. For those who need a place for space, Wisconsin has lots to offer. With 49 state parks, 15 state forests, 44 state trails, 84,000 miles of rivers and streams, and roughly 15,000 lakes, Wisconsin offers residents and visitors innumerable opportunities to go wild.

“If there is a silver lining in the pandemic, it is that getting outside has never felt so important ... ”

“Being outdoors not only does wonders for our health and well-being during these uncertain times, it helps support local small businesses that depend on park visitors,” said DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole. “Wisconsin’s parks and trails are public treasures, and it is vital that we continue to invest in the preservation and enhancement of these public lands enjoyed by so many, not just right now but for generations to come.”

Since COVID-19 began impacting people’s lives, the number of visitors and campers at Wisconsin state parks have soared. The sales of fishing and hunting licenses have increased, too.

The economic impact of outdoor recreation in Wisconsin is notable. Annually, it adds an estimated $7.8 billion boost to the state’s GDP and supports more than 93,000 jobs according to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

“If there is a silver lining in the pandemic, it is that getting outside has never felt so important to so many people – and Wisconsin is fortunate to have countless outdoor offerings,” said Director Mary Monroe Brown, of the Wisconsin Tourism Office of Outdoor Recreation. “Welcoming and cultivating this new group to become life-long outdoorists is a monumental opportunity not only for the outdoor recreation industry but also for Wisconsin’s economy.”

TravelWisconsin.com, the Department of Tourism’s premiere state travel website has seen percent increases in the triple digits of people searching for great trails, hikes, and waterfalls.


They have curated ideas for autumn adventures at www.travelwisconsin.com/trip-ideas/fall-getaways. Visitors to state parks are asked to check online for park capacity updates, changes to access, and current health and safety precautions before they head out. Learn more about the opportunities available for outdoor enjoyment by visiting dnr.wisconsin.gov.