Why Not Gov. Walker State Park?
If it embodies his style of serving the public, oh what a park it will be.
In early October, my wife and I camped with friends at the beautiful Governor Dodge State Park, named for Henry Dodge, Wisconsin’s first territorial governor. We enjoyed two flawless autumn days in the great Wisconsin outdoors.
The park provided a much-needed break from our city routine, and on the drive home the thought occurred to me that someday we may have another park dedicated to another governor’s memory . . . a Governor Walker State Park.
What would Governor Walker State Park be like? I think I can picture it in my mind’s eye. Join me on a quick trip to the future.
This unique new state park, named after Wisconsin’s 45th governor, will be located on a 400-acre tract of land in north central Wisconsin consisting of filled-in wetlands adjacent to an abandoned sulfide mine. The state would lease the land from the mine’s owners. Although the state is putting in a new road to make the park more accessible, the construction never seems to get done and orange traffic barrels are scattered throughout the park’s roads and parking lots for what seems like decades.
The park itself is open to all state residents, provided they can prove residency with a driver’s license or state-issued photo ID. Union members, however, are banned from entering, but have the right to recreate should they become free and independent workers. (This exclusion does not apply to members of police or fire unions.)
The park operates on the innovative “right to camp” concept. This means there are no real campsites, per se, and no real services provided. You just set up camp wherever you want.
By the time Governor Walker State Park opens, state parks will no longer be managed by the long since disbanded DNR, but rather by WNRA, a subsidiary of the National Rifle Association.
Target ranges will be mandatory outside every campground, with targets and ammo provided through concession sales handled by Kentucky Fireworks®. This out-of-state pyrotechnics firm with major subsidiaries in China and Taiwan will have exclusive rights to firework sales through a deal negotiated years ago by Governor Walker and WEDC, whereby the state subsidizes each franchise to the tune of $2.3 million a year for the next 55 years. While this may seem a rather large burden for the hard working taxpayers of Wisconsin, think of the jobs created in hospital emergency rooms all across our great state.
Park trails will be open to ATVs and motocross bikes only. While multi-purpose trails had been tried on an experimental basis in Walker State Park, ATV users complained that their liberties– especially their right to “let ‘er rip”– had been unconstitutionally restricted. The State Supreme Court, with all five conservative justices concurring, quickly agreed. Subsequent regulations further limited hikers to foot travel solely on paths leading to the rifle ranges, to restroom facilities, or to the mandatory standing convocation for the National Anthem held on a daily basis each morning.
Boating and watercraft opportunities will abound, not only at Governor Walker State Park, but at all parks state-wide located near water. Canoes, paddleboats and kayaks, however, will be outlawed, as these slower, quieter craft pose a danger to jet ski enthusiasts.
Unfortunately, by the time Governor Walker State Park comes on line, the State’s deer population will have been virtually wiped out by Chronic Wasting Disease due to past DNR mismanagement. But the new park will have a “petting zoo” to house the few remaining members of that species. Youngsters can enter the deer pen and pet these deer after donning double thick latex gloves and a modified hazmat suit.
Despite the absence of deer, Wisconsin will remain “open for business” as far as hunting goes. After all, hunting is a major generator of tourist dollars for Badgerland, and so the legislature has enacted new laws to provide plentiful game to attract out-of-state hunters. It will now be “open season” — year round — for hunting of wolf, elk, fox, coyote, turkey, geese, mourning doves, hummingbirds, beaver, opossum and voles. Virtually anything that moves. And no bag limits!
In addition, a new form of skeet will be available for target shooting enthusiasts all along Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shoreline. The new sport will pit target shooters against the wily and now-plentiful Great Lakes flying Asian carp.
For security purposes all park rangers will pack open-carry semi-automatics. For additional safety, campers are encouraged to keep concealed-carry guns on their person at all times.
Yes, a new and bracing camping experience awaits Wisconsin outdoor enthusiasts in the not-too-distant future, one that embodies all the key principles championed by our forward-thinking 45th governor.
Paul Mamerow is a retired physician assistant living in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.