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Day Use Facilities

Wisconsin State Park System

Many Wisconsin state parks and forests have facilities that can be reserved for large group picnics, family reunions, weddings and other events. All Wisconsin state parks and forests have picnic areas and nearly all are accessible to people with disabilities.

If you are planning a wedding ceremony or reception within the property, please consult with the property manager and see the guidelines below.

Day use facility and area rules

Day use facilities include open and enclosed shelters, amphitheaters or other areas within the property. The following rules apply to most day use facilities in the Wisconsin State Park System; some properties may have special facility hours or rules. For questions about a specific facility, please ask the property manager. 

Reservations

Reservations for may be made for most day use facility beginning 11 months before the date of arrival. Some facilities may not be available for reservation during certain parts of the year. The hours facilities can be reserved vary by property; some shelters or amphitheaters are held for evening events or nature programs during summer. Shelters and amphitheaters cannot be reserved within 7 days before the date of arrival. Day use facilities can only be reserved during the day, they are not for overnight stays.

Reservations for most facilities can be made through the Wisconsin State Parks reservation system.  Certain facilities must be reserved through the property office. Day use facility rates are based on type, size, amenities, demand and location. Fees and facilities are subject to change. 

Facility deposit

A deposit may be required to protect the facility from damage during use or extra clean-up. If damage occurs, or staff determines excessive clean-up or repairs are required, any cost will be retained from the facility deposit. The facility deposit will be refunded in full if the facility is left in good condition, not requiring extra clean-up.

Cancellation policy

For most day use facilities, refund requests with 21 or more days’ notice will be reimbursed 50 percent of the facility rate payment less the reservation fee. Refunds will not be made for cancellation requests received less than 21 days before the facility was to be occupied.

Vehicle admission stickers

Vehicle admission stickers are required on all motorized vehicles, including caterers and other service providers. The person making the reservation is responsible for informing all guests of the vehicle admission sticker requirement. Stickers may be purchased upon arrival.

Reduced rate admission stickers for large organized groups are available for day use only. The group rate is $5 per vehicle with a minimum charge per group of $100. The minimum charge is non-refundable. These stickers are valid for vehicles with either Wisconsin or nonresident license plates. The group must contact the property by mail, telephone or in person at least 7 days in advance.

Parking

Reservation of a day use facility does not ensure parking will be available. All vehicles must be legally parked and may not drive on the grass. There is no special parking priority given to wedding/event vehicles and an early arrival is recommended.  

Equipment, food and music

Small, temporary equipment such as chairs, portable archways, backdrops, etc. can be brought into the property for the day. Any large equipment (tent or shelter, stage, trailer-sized grill, catering van, etc.) must have approval in advance from the property manager. No amplified music or sound is allowed unless approved by the property manager. Acoustical music is allowed. Equipment or food may only be delivered the day of the reservation. 

Any decorations should be temporary and completely removable. Staples, pins, paper and tape must all be removed after use.

Garbage and recycling

Many picnic areas and day use facilities do not have trash or recycling receptacles. All visitors must clean up and remove all trash generated by their event. Carry-in, carry-out policy.

Hours

Facilities may not be occupied before 6 a.m. and must be vacated by 11 p.m. Some properties may have more restrictive hours for certain facilities.

Water and restrooms

Be aware that water and services (buildings, flush restrooms, shower buildings, concessions and campgrounds) may be closed during the off season. Check with the property office for availability if holding your event during non-summer months.

Responsible person

The person making the reservation is responsible for general cleanup and care of the facility and shall ensure compliance with all applicable state statues and state park and forest rules. This person must communicate clearly and completely with all people involved with the event and inform all guests, helpers, photographers, caterers and delivery persons when and where in the property the event is being held.

A public place

Keep in mind that state parks and forests are public places. Any group is expected to follow the same rules on alcohol, noise, parking and behavior as any other visitor. The wedding/event party has no right to restrict someone's use of any part of the public property. Remember that holding your event in a heavily used area or at a busy time of year may not turn out to be the setting you desire.

Pets

Pets are not allowed in buildings, beaches, playground and picnic areas, including shelters and amphitheaters. The person making the reservation is responsible for informing all guests of the pet policy. Pets in the state parks.

Commercial use permit

Any person soliciting or collecting funds for a business of any nature or engaging in commercial filming or photography or providing services for a fee is required to first obtain a Commercial Use Permit from the manager at the property. The person making the reservation is responsible for informing all guests of the commercial use policy.