Next time you visit one of the state parks in Wisconsin it’ll be under a new direction. On Tuesday, the Wisconsin State Department of Natural Resources announced that Steven Schmelzer is the new Parks Director. Schmelzer spent 29 years with the DNR dating back to 1992 when he began as a Park Ranger at Devil’s Lake State Park. Since 2020, Schmelzer has been serving as the District Park Supervisor, leading the southwest district which covers eight counties.
The DNR’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Deputy Division Administrator Diane Brusoe approved of the hire, saying that staff has remained resilient and adaptable and that they are excited to have Schmelzer carry the momentum. Schmelzer also shared excitement, stating “our parks offer countless recreational opportunities for visitors. We must continue to innovate and look at new technologies to better serve our customers now and in the future.” The DNR has reported more than 9.6 million visits to its state parks so far this year, which is an 18% increase over 2020 and a 36% increase since 2019. Wisconsin has 49 state parks.