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DNR Secretary defends keeping state parks open despite federal orders

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - State DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp is defending her agency's rejection of federal orders to close state parks where federal funds pay only part of the costs. 

She also says Washington is "overreaching" by telling the DNR to close federal areas where the state has management authority. 

The federal government shutdown has left people confused about which sites are open. 

Deputy secretary Matt Moroney says the DNR has worked with its attorneys to make sure that lands with both state and federal responsibilities stay open. He says it's especially important now, as more people go duck hunting and view the fall colors. 

Stepp says hunting will be allowed at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, but all campgrounds in the forest will be closed as of Friday. Federal officials have also closed wildlife refuges and boat launches on the Mississippi River. 

Stepp says people can still use state-owned landings. 

At the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, workers are staying on the job to keep an eye on four endangered whopping cranes that arrived last week. Those cranes will fly to Florida as part of a long-running migration project.