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Holding special events on DNR lands

Commercial use and special events at Wisconsin State Park System properties are allowed for groups of 50 or less. A COVID-19 mitigation plan must be completed with an application for any commercial use or special event proposed for DNR-managed lands.

Throughout the year several special events such as marathons, bike competitions and endurance races take place at state properties. On DNR lands, special events are defined as a temporary use of department property for an activity that is otherwise not specifically allowed or which involves one or more of the following:

  • Exclusive use or closure of all or part of a property;
  • Restricts or limits use of a property by non-participants;
  • Placement of temporary structures or event apparatus;
  • Sale or offering of beverages, food or merchandise;
  • Non-routine services from a department employee;
  • Takes place during hours beyond normal property open hours;
  • Equipment or facilities not otherwise authorized for the proposed public use;
  • Event participation fees.

Proposed events must be consistent with the current master plan for the property.

Special events require a permit. In specific circumstances, the permit requirement may be waived by the property manager. The permit will describe the terms and conditions under which the event will be allowed. Note: Special events where alcohol will be sold or given away will likely need to comply with liquor license and liquor liability insurance requirements.

Special Event Application and Permit

Special events on state properties which are different from traditional, day-to-day public uses are required to apply for a Special Event Permit. Examples of events that require permission from the DNR include triathlons, rallies and races. A property manager will review the application and accept or deny the permit request. Additional terms and conditions specific to the event will be provided with an approved permit.

A COVID-19 mitigation plan must be completed with an application for any commercial use or special event proposed for Wisconsin DNR-managed lands.

A fee will be assigned to the Special Event Permit holder. Minimum fees are based on the number of anticipated participants at the event:

  • Up to 100 participants: $50
  • 100-500 participants: $100
  • 500-1,000 participants: $250
  • More than 1,000 participants: $500

Additional fees will be required for most events to cover costs related to the event.

For questions or more information about holding special events on state lands, contact the property manager.