The State of Wisconsin has adopted one official law with respect to camping on public highways and lands immediately adjacent to. The law can be found under Chapter 86, “Miscellaneous Highway Provisions“. Here is the full text of that law…
86.025 Camping on highways. It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to camp in wagons, tent or otherwise on the public highways or lands adjacent thereto, after a notice to remove therefrom by the owners of such adjacent lands, or the owner of land abutting on the highway, or by a member of the board of supervisors or any trustee of any town or village where such camping place is made. Any person or persons violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not exceeding $10, or imprisoned in the county jail not exceeding 30 days, or both.
Other Rules and Guidelines about Rest Areas
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has published some rules and guidelines on its website with respect to use of its rest areas. Note that these rules and guidelines may not necessarily have the legal power that the above law has. Nonetheless, it still reflects WisDOT’s policy and helps guide them on how to patrol activities at its rest areas. Below are the full texts of those rules and guidelines…
Roadside sites are provided for the safety, comfort, convenience and enjoyment of the traveling public. Activities which are not safety related are not compatible with the intended use of the roadside facility. Wisconsin Statute 86.025 prohibits camping by any person on public highways or adjacent lands.
WisDOT, for safety and operational reasons, discourages citizens from using any WisDOT site for geocaching purposes. Any “cache” found by site staff will be disposed of promptly.
It is necessary to ensure that all Department operated roadside facilities provide a safe environment for the traveling public at all times. This includes safety during various hunting seasons. No person may load or discharge a firearm on roadside facility property (other than law enforcement officers). WisDOT policy prohibits hunting on highway right-of-way land unless specifically allowed.
Roadside sites are provided for the safety, comfort, convenience and enjoyment of the traveling public. Long term parking at highway rest areas is not allowed, as it is not consistent with the purpose and design of the facilities and can cause problems relative to the use and maintenance of the site.
Long term would be considered as vehicles parked at a roadside site for more than a 24-hour continuous period, occupied or not. If a vehicle is parked at a roadside facility for more than this time period, it may be reported to the State Patrol and the procedure for removal will begin.
Wisconsin Act 354 – A person with disabilities or a service animal trainer who is accompanied by a service animal is permitted to accompany the person with a disability or the service animal trainer to all areas of the public place that are open to the general public. This would include restrooms, vending area and any public locations inside the facility.
All animals other than service animals, whether in transport cages or not, are NOT allowed inside the rest area building. Non-service animals are to be confined in the owner’s vehicle or may use the designated pet walk area when accompanied by the owner. All animals are to be leashed while on the rest area premises.