So let’s face it, this has become a farce. Those in charge of managing Pewit’s Nest State Natural Area have simply abdicated or given up. What’s more, they have created a trap for visitors by not providing adequate parking. This is a very old problem and it seems the bucks are passing faster than migrating sandhill cranes.
I could rant on about the destruction going on in Pewit’s Nest as well as Parfrey’s Glen state natural areas here in Baraboo.. and I have.. (Poor Norman Carter Fassett must be rolling in his grave!) In the end if we don’t act, the earth will shrug us off and move on. Until then we’ll simply allow these special places to be flattened by abuse & overuse because, “It’s not my problem.” Then our community will wonder where all the visitors went, shocked and amazed to learn that “nature” was the real attraction all along.
But I’m sidetracked. My little rant today is actually about ticket trapping visitors that all started when someone said, “Let’s create an inadequate parking area at Pewit’s Nest.” I’ve even heard suggestion that inadequate parking was intentional to keep numbers down. If true, that planner should be fired! What it did do was force people to park up and down a dangerous corner to get access to a very popular local outdoor destination. In fact just last Saturday cars were parked so far down the road, that they were beginning to park up a further side road as well. How crazy is that?? Sure, we could say that the drivers are at fault and that they should just follow the laws and come back later.. But frankly we all know better and you can’t hide behind the letter of the law when you need a long-term solution.
While locals often visit during the week, most weekend visitors have made a special effort to visit. They may only have this one Saturday or one weekend to visit. Do we expect them to drive by? Really?
Here’s one snippet from a TripAdvisor review,
“We were going to visit on another day a month or so ago, but turned around because there are only 8-9 parking places and the 12 or so cars on the road all had parking tickets on them.” – Read the rest of the reviews here.
We, our community, our state, told them “Come! Visit! It’s A Must See!”. Then we didn’t provide them parking. To add insult to injury we pass out parking tickets as well. On any given Saturday, Sauk County patrol officers can basically harvest visitors with parking tickets at will around Pewit’s. It’s no secret locally. It just is. Pewit’s Nest on summer Saturdays reminds me of one of those private wedding parties you drive by, where cars are lined up and down the side of a busy highway and you’re just waiting for someone to get hit trying to get into their car. Just crazy.
Even a Wisconsin Trails article mentions tickets. Not ideal advertising.
Here in Baraboo, these beautiful natural areas are ours. Yours and mine. We need to care more. We also need to realize that the visitors to these areas are our guests and they help us pay the bills. The answer isn’t to close these areas to the public as some have suggested. We simply need deal with the issues of being popular, invest in the infrastructure to match our visitor needs & numbers, provide appropriate law enforcement and for Pete’s sake, provide adequate parking!
Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!