Spring will arrive.

Fire place

Between Peterson Shelter and Bluff Trail

Nature Trail

Pigeon Monument

Pigeon Monument

Early Spring.

Arriving soon.

Bluff Trail

The Knob shelter

Spring - the best time.

Friends groups receive Stewardship grants for improvements at state parks, forest and trails

MADISON - Fifteen state park, forest and trail friends groups will share in nearly $240,000 in matching grants from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program.

The grants will fund improvements including renovation of hiking trails at Devil's Lake State Park, construction of a picnic shelter at the Lapham Peak Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, extension of the National Scenic Ice Age Trail through Hartman Creek State Park, Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area and other properties, and building of a new campground playground at Wyalusing State Park(Photo left).

The Stewardship program makes annual matching grants available to non-profit and conservation organizations with priority given to projects submitted by friends groups. The groups must match the contributions with cash and in-kind donations of materials and labor. For the 2015 grant cycle the friends groups and Ice Age Trail Alliance are matching the grants with more than $780,000 in cash and nearly $100,000 in in-kind donations.

"These grants to our friends groups allow us to make improvements to our park and forest properties that we would not be able to accomplish without their assistance," said Patty Loosen, DNR friends group liaison.

The complete list of grants and projects [PDF] is available on the Department of Natural Resources website. For more information about the Grants to Friends Groups, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "Stewardship" and click on the link for "Grants to state property friends groups." For more information about state parks friends groups search for keyword "friends."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Patty Loosen, friends groups liaison, 608-267-7474 or Lavane Hessler, Stewardship nonprofit grant manager, 608-267-0497

Front Page Feature

Agenda and Minutes of Meetings

Point Lookout located at Wyalusing State Park is featured on the front cover of the Prairie du Chien Chamber of Commerce Visitors guide for 2015.

This comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever visited Wyalusing State Park. Wyalusing State Park is one of Wisconsin’s oldest State Parks. It is located in the driftless area of southwest Wisconsin. People arrive from all over the world to camp 500 feet above the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. Wyalusing features family and group camps, hiking trails, a canoe trail, Native American burial mounds, bird watching, fishing, boating, bicycling and picnicking near several scenic overlooks of the river valleys below.

Winter activities include groomed XC skiing, camping, and when conditions allow, snow shoeing.

The Friends of Wyalusing welcome you to Wyalusing State park. I hope you find it a source of endless fascination as we have. We are a private non-profit charitable organization. Our goal is to support and enhance your experience here at wonderful Wyalusing. As you explore the park, you will see nature trails, kiosks, guided hikes and nature programs that were made possible by the efforts of our organization.

Prairie du Chien will be celebrating Bald Eagle Appreciation Days Friday and Saturday, Feb 27-28, 2015.

To get your very own 64 page Prairie du Chien Visitors Guide go to the Chamber of Commerce web site. (Here)

Wanted–Campground Hosts

downloadWould you like to spend some time camping in one of Wisconsin's state parks and stay for free?!  Consider being a Campground Host!
Some of the Wisconsin State Parks are looking for Camp hosts for the 2015 camping season.

Host Benefits:
  • As a campground host volunteer, you receive free camping. 
  • Each site usually comes with a free electrical hook-up and may include water and/or sewer. 
  • The schedules of our volunteer hosts allow you ample time to enjoy recreational activities with friends and family members while providing volunteer services within the state park. 
  • Hosts will have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and perhaps develop new friendships. 
  • One of the most important benefits hosts receive is a sense of satisfaction that comes in knowing you have helped make the camping experience more enjoyable for other campers. 

Who Can Host:
  • Hosts can be individuals or teams such as a wife and husband. 
  • You must be 18 years of age or older and have your own camping gear.  
  • Hosts may stay from 2 weeks to the entire season and there could be an opportunity to rotate hosts among other state parks for a broader experience
As a representative of the Department of Natural Resources, a host:
  • Stays in a campsite at the campground and volunteers a few hours a day. 
  • Greets and assists campers with information about the park and facilities. 
  • Assists in daily campground operations and set an example by being a model camper. 
  • May clean campsites, bathrooms, and facilities and assist with light maintenance. 
  • Dispenses park information and assists with campground programs. 
  • Enjoys the company of other campers and makes sure that they enjoy their stay.
You must be willing to provide services five days each week, including weekends and holidays (a minimum of 25 hours per occupant). The property manager will try to be flexible and balance a host's schedule with visitor season demands and the host’s own needs.
  • Expected to serve a minimum of two to four consecutive weeks 
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • DNR employees are not eligible 
  • Must provide own camping equipment, food, and other personal items for your stay 
  • Required to pass a background check

If you are interested in volunteering in Wisconsin State Parks, contact the property supervisor where you would like to volunteer to discuss available opportunities. Anyone who would like be a volunteer must fill out a Volunteer Agreement (PDF). Property superintendents will review the agreement and interview and select all volunteers. Find a State Park, Forest, Recreation Area, or Trail Volunteer Agreement [PDF]

Wyalusing Winter Camping

If you have the right equipment and warm clothes, Winter is a great time for camping at Wyalusing State Park. There are no crowds and no bugs, and there's plenty to do—cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, animal tracking, bird watching, ice fishing, and enjoying a warm fire.

Wyalusing State Park has 55 out of 104 sites available for winter camping. Six of them are plowed. Electric hookups are available. Water is available, as well as outdoor bathrooms. During winter, campsites are available on first come, first served basis. The campsites are located on Wisconsin Ridge.

Access water in Winter at winterized water hydrant East of Shower Bldg. (Click to enlarge.)

Winter Water Access
A winterized water hydrant is located near the sidewalk on the east side of the shower/flush toilet building. The building is closed for the winter season. If in an RV, the driver can pull off of the main road onto an adjacent parking lot. A hose of at least 30 feet will be needed to fill the RV. Depending on plowing conditions, RVers needing water, at the winter hydrant, may have to back after filling up with water. The road to the dump station is not plowed and usually blocked.

Green line = Plowed; Red Dashes=may be plowed; Red=not plowed. Click map to enlarge.

Winter Driving Access
Roads from the main office, to the boat landing are plowed and sanded. The road to Wisconsin Ridge is plowed as well as the first camping loop. At times, Point Lookout parking lot is also plowed. The blacktop trail to point lookout may be plowed as well.

The author would love to hear from campers who have stayed at Wyalusing State Park during Late Fall or Winter Camping. New Blog will focus on these topics.

Couple Finds Hidden Car Key Under Park Bench!*

image‘That’s It, Dave- I Found I found the Key!

That’s what the winner shouted when she spotted the key to the “Treasure Hunt car” hidden in a park.

If we'ed tried, we probably couldn’t have come up with a better winner. First we’ll tell you about this couple’s background, then tell you how they found the key.

Dave Putirskis and Sara Sass have a love affair with Wisconsin parks...so much so that they have visited every state park, and 90% of the county parks as well.

“Wisconsin is such a beautiful state,” says Sara, “and John Muir and others had the vision to reserve some of the prettiest parts of it through the park system.

“These parks are all freely accessible. We love to check them out, hike and picnic in each of them. This has sort of become our ‘hobby’.”

Since they live in Oak Creek, a suburb of Milwaukee, visiting parks in the upper parts of the state have mounted up miles. Their 2000 Dodge Intrepid had 228,000 miles on it. They were eager to trade it...but due to the cost kept putting it off.

Aunt Steered Them to Contest

Then they learned about our “Treasure Hunt” from Sara’s aunt, Sue Mielke, a charter subscriber from Kenosha.

“If anyone can find that key, for sure you two can,” Sue told them. “You’re going to those parks anyway, so you might as well start looking.”

With that, Sara and Dave not only subscribed, they purchased all the past issues so they could carefully study the progressive “clues” in each copy. When they got to the latest clue in our Aug/Sept issue, “lt’s sittin’ pretty”, they looked at each other and just knew where it was.

They had visited Wyalusing State Park near Prairie du Chien just 2 weeks prior and had enjoyed the incredible view at the overlook there. “Suddenly it was like some ‘other power’ was sending us this message,” says Dave. “We both had the exact spot in mind—we could just picture that key hidden at that overlook.”

Another Trip to the River

So the very next day, they hopped in that old Dodge~“We weren’t sure it would make it there!”—and drove 3-l/2 hours back to that park near the Mississippi River.

They hurried to the overlook, and in less than 20 minutes they found the hidden key! It was attached to the bottom of a low bench.

imageSara screamed, “That is it, Dave.’ I found the key! ” They hugged and hollered and jumped up and down. “Fortunately we were alone,” Dave says, “or people might have thought We Were a little crazy. Well, we were!”

The contest prize offered by the Russ Darrow Group Was “a new Kia Soul, or $15,000 off the price of any car” offered at their 17 dealerships. So with their budget still in mind, and wanting a SUV equipped for continued park visits, they chose a used car, a 2011 Ford Edge.

“We still can’t believe all this happened,” Sara says. “We Were treated so well by the Darrow people, and we so much appreciate Our Wisconsin starting this fun contest for its readers.

“For us, it was more than fun. We really needed a better car, and we found one’ !”


*Reprint from Our Wisconsin Magazine, December/January 2015