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Admission Fee Waivers

Wisconsin State Park System

Wisconsin state parks and forests offer several types of waivers for admission fees:

School, college and nonprofit fee waivers

Vehicle admission and trail fees may be waived for:

  • authorized public and private school events;
  • vehicles transporting students for authorized outdoor academic classes given by an accredited Wisconsin college or university; and
  • groups with mentally or physically disabled persons and their attendants brought by a nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is improvement of their mental or physical health.

To receive such a waiver, complete a Vehicle Permit/Trail Fee Waiver Request [PDF] form and send it directly to the property from which you're requesting the waiver. The form must be received at the property at least seven days before the beginning of the planned activity. Before going to the park, confirm whether your request has been granted. Stop at the property office for a courtesy permit when you arrive.

Vehicles dropping off or picking up juvenile group campers also may have admission fees waived.

Government business fee waivers

Admission fees are waived for vehicles registered to governmental agencies or driven by persons on official government business and for vehicles furnishing services or supplies to the Department of Natural Resources or its concessionaires.

Towed vehicles

Free daily stickers are available for vehicles towed or carried into the property by a vehicle with a purchased sticker. Any type of vehicle can be towed or do the towing—motor home, truck camper, motorcycle, etc.

The vehicle doing the towing or carrying must have an annual or daily admission sticker. A vehicle being towed or carried will be issued a free courtesy admission sticker allowing it the same access and privileges as a vehicle with an annual or daily admission sticker.

Conservation Patrons

Resident and nonresident Conservation Patron Licenses are valid from April 1 through March 31. These licenses provide, in addition to hunting and fishing privileges, free access to state parks, forests and recreation areas for vehicles carrying a patron holder. Also included are free access for walk-in patron-holders to Heritage Hill State Historical Park; and free access to state trails for the patron holders.

Conservation patron holders will receive a redemption voucher with their license document printout to trade in for the physical patron sticker. This voucher can be redeemed at any DNR service center, state park or state forest.

Senior Citizen Recreation Card Holders

Before 1992, Wisconsin residents age 65 and older could buy Senior Citizen Recreation Cards granting them lifetime free admission to state parks. This card is no longer available for purchase, but we still honor the cards issued before 1992.

Vehicles on public highways

Visitors may drive through a state park or forest recreation area without a vehicle admission sticker. However, if the vehicle is parked within a state park, forest or recreation area where stickers are required, it must have a sticker.

Disabled Veteran and Former Prisoner of War fee waivers

Certain disabled veterans and former prisoners of war are eligible to receive waivers of vehicle admission and trail pass fees. Program is for Wisconsin residents.

To apply for this fee waiver:

  1. Download and complete the Disabled Veteran Free State Park/Forest/Trail Pass Application [PDF] and take it to your County Veteran Service Officer [exit DNR] (CVSO) to certify. The application must be signed and stamped by the CVSO.
  2. Mail the certified application to:

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Bureau of Parks and Recreation
101 S Webster St PO Box 7921
Madison WI 53707

Do not send medical records to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The Bureau of Parks and Recreation will mail you an identification card to be presented each time you visit a state park, forest or recreation area. The park, forest or recreation area will then issue a courtesy pass for the day. When using state trails requiring a trail pass, carry the identification card with you.

Federal Pass for Ice Age Reserve Units

At an Ice Age Reserve Unit, admission fees are waived for a vehicle occupied by a holder of a Federal Pass, such as an America the Beautiful—National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, or a pass from a former National Park Service program such as the Golden Age, Access or Eagle Passports. Ice Age Reserve units honor these passes but do not issue them.

Wisconsin service members – Veterans Day and Memorial Day weekend

State statute 27.01(7)(c)1m allows for a vehicle admission exemption for any vehicle (except a bus) on Veterans Day and the 3-day weekend (Sat. through Mon.) that includes Memorial Day that is occupied by a person who produces evidence they are a state resident and a service member.

Free fun weekend in June

All DNR-owned properties participate in Free Fun Weekend during the first full weekend in June. All vehicle admission sticker fees and trail fees on state-operated designated state trails are waived for Free Fun Weekend. Cooperatively-run state trails also may participate. The weekend coincides with "Free Fishing Weekend" in Wisconsin and all fishing licenses are also waived.