Northern Water Trail

As of this date, 8/26/15, the Northern Water Trail, located in Woodyard Slough, is a clear paddle to the Mississippi River. Water levels, as measured by the USGS in McGregor, Iowa, is over eight feet. McGregor is across the Mississippi River from Wyalusing State Park. 

When water levels are below eight feet, people using the water trail may have to tow or push the canoe 30-40 feet.

Water travelers have reported sightings of Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Kingfishers,  and other common water fowl along the trail. Most sightings were in early morning or late afternoon. Others have seen beavers, otters, and muskrats.

The boat landing, located at Wyalusing State Park, is end at the end of Long Valley Road. During September, culverts are being replaced along with rebuilding the road-bed. During road construction, vehicles will not be allowed on Long Valley Road. No boat landing access, and no canoeing from the Wyalusing State Park boat landing.

If you have your own canoe, boat, or Kayak, you can use the boat landing in the village of Wyalusing, south of the state park. The village boat landing is located on the Mississippi River.

Low Water levels Affect Wyalusing Water Trail

 

canoe trail greyWith the lack of rain north of Prairie du Chien , the Mississippi River and the backwaters create a few challenges for paddlers on the Wyalusing State Park Water Trail  http://www.wyalusingfriends.org/2014/07/glenn-lake-wood-yard-slough-canoekayak.html

Currently, the Mississippi River stage is at below 8 feet . The river stage is measured at McGregor, IA, McGregor is across the Mississippi River from Wyalusing State Park. The gauge is maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  EVERY site along the Mississippi River reports river stage as a measure relative to sea level, but there are some river gauge locations along our local rivers that are NOT reported relative to sea level. Instead, those sites have a subjective benchmark point, often based on something historical about the local area or the river reporting practices from decades ago. For example, at McGregor, IA, the river stage of 7.9 means that the water surface is 7.9 feet above a "benchmark" established years ago.

With lower than normal water levels, paddlers may have to walk and drag the canoe/kayak through sand and/or mud from 20-30 yards in one section and 125-150 yards in another. (See the red areas on the map.)

When paddlers re-enter the canoes or kayaks, some of the sand and mud also comes along. The life jackets get extra dirty as well. Concession stand staff washes all life jackets with detergent  and hangs each out to dry. Dirty, sandy life jackets will incur additional expense to the user.

Water Trail Alternative

Paddlers seeking a water-trail adventure without having to walk in sand and Mississippi River muck can still venture out on an alternative trail. From the Boat landing, travel North along the railroad tracks into the first dead-end inlet. Travel around the inlet, head south and around to the next inlet. Eagles can frequently be found in these areas Glenn Lake. After traveling though the inlets, take the first leg of the canoe trail until reaching the first "walking area". Reverse directions, and travel south along Glenn lake to the lower portion of the lake. Stay up to date on canoe/kayak access by liking the Friends of Wyalusing Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/friendsofwyalusingstatepark or checking the USGS Mississippi water level gauge at http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=arx&gage=mcgi4&view=1,1,1,1,1,1

Gold Seal Awards


Friends of Wisconsin State Parks are asking for your vote in this year’s contest categories. If you are a camper, biker, hunter, hiker, angler, or park visitor, cast your  vote for your favorite state park, forest or trail in the categories below.
The winning parks, forests and trails will be honored with a GOLD SEAL AWARD at the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Awards Banquet on Saturday, November 14, 2015. The statewide Friends of Wisconsin State Parks organization runs the GOLD SEAL AWARD program each year to highlight Wisconsin’s parks, trails, and forests.
Gold Seal contest – July 11-September, 11, 2015.
Best trail to view wildflowers
Best place to find winter wildlife tracks
Best place for a workout
Best accessible picnic area
Best place to camp with the family
Best trail to ride/hike in the fall
Best place to view exhibits
Best place to find fungi
Best dog beach
Best place to see migratory birds
Click here to make nomination.

Fun Run to Support Visitor Center

2  Friends of Wyalusing State Park 5k Fun RunThe Friends of Wyalusing State Park are hosting a 5k Fun Run Saturday, June 20 at the park. The Fun Run will be on grass covered hiking trails at the park.

This is the first run at Wyalusing State Park. Intentions are to make this an annual event.

All of the proceeds for the event will go towards construction cost of a visitor center addition, which is set to start in 2017, the 100th year anniversary of Wyalusing State Park.  The visitor center will expand west of the existing building, and will cost approximately $50,000. It will provide a new office space and a meeting/gathering room.

All are welcome to join the fun. Children 8 years of age and under run or walk free. Registration starts at 8AM. The run/walk event starts at 9AM. The first 50 registered receive a free water bottle.

The event will not be timed and no prizes will be given out. The event is meant for participants to enjoy the outdoors and nature trail, to exercise and to support a good cause. There will be shuttle for parking if needed and, if there is bad weather, the race will be moved to a road course.

5K Fun Run Saturday. June 20, 2015

Click here for registration information

“This is a great way to spend time with the family, especially considering it will be Fathers Day weekend,” said Rachele Breuer, a Friends of Wyalusing member and race organizer.

All interested runners and walkers should contact Rachele Breuer at friendsofwyalusing@gmail.com or contact the Wyalusing State Park office at (608) 996-2261.

To register for the Fun Run visit the Facebook page. (Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1599945696914411/ ).   Entry forms (Link) should be mailed to

Friends of Wyalusing State Park

110 Union Street

Bloomington, Wi 53804.

In case of inclement weather the day of the race it will be cancelled and won’t be rescheduled.

Old Immigrant Trail and "Old Trail Made New**

Some park visitors may recall the heavy rains in 2007 that closed half of the trails at Wyalusing State Park.
"It had been raining for days, the ground was thoroughly saturated and then... the park received eight inches of rain in two hours!", recalls Lisa Pitzer, Park Manager. 
"The next morning the lower half of Long Valley Road going all the way to the boat landing was impassable. A "river" was running down where the road had been. The entire lower half of Long Valley Road was choked with full sized trees, rocks and mud which was two feet deep."
Since the Burlington Northern Railroad needed access to the tracks, located along the backwater, their crews came in with large equipment to clear the roadway. Eventually the lower part of the road was made passable. This fall,  culverts will be added.
Before the rains, there were four trails located along the Wisconsin Ridge Bluff: Bluff Trail, Indian Trail, Flint Ledge Trail, and Old Immigrant Trail.
Lisa set out to assess the trail damage. "As I walked along Bluff Trail there were areas where the trail just simply disappeared. It had slid down the bluff."
"While walking to Flint Ledge Trail I discovered the same thing. Ravines that had stairs for hikers were now 1-12 feet deep. Rocks as big as cars blocked the path."
Pitzer proceeded to walk along Old Immigrant trail. The original trail had been a roadway which was used by pioneers in wagons. It followed the Wisconsin River to Walnut Eddy and the Mississippi River. "I walked the entire length of the trail, and literally was up to my knees in mud. Large rocks and full sized trees blocked sections of the trail."
During the past eight years, Wyalusing State Park has been repairing, re-routing, and rebuilding the trails. Trails were built for more sustainability. 
"Although several of the old trails along the bluff and elsewhere in the park will never be rehabilitated because of the extent of the damage, we have worked hard on those areas where trails could be saved."
Sugar Maple Nature Trail, Sand Cave Trail, and Old Wagon Road Trail have all been re-opened. 
Old Immigrant Trail was opened, again, in the summer of 2015. The 2.8 mile loop begins at The Knob Shelter, on Wisconsin Ridge Campground, and continues along the Wisconsin River. It eventually climbs back up the bluff to meet Sentinel Ridge Trail.  
The new "old" trail offers hikers views from scenic bluff top ridges, mature bottom and hardwood forests and beautiful views of the Lower Wisconsin River. (View photos of Trail rebuilding)


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*Lisa Pitzer - Park Manager, Wyalusing State Park Visitor Guide Summer 2015.

Old Immigrant Trail

Old Immigrant Trail
Begins at Knob Shelter and continues along the Wisconsin Rivers at Walnut Eddy. The trail then follows the Wisconsin River and eventually climbs the bluff to intersect Sentinel Ridge Trail.  
Following is an unofficial trail description.
Trail Rating Guide:
  • 1=walking on a level paved road.
  • 10=Walking on an unmarked trail up a bluff, covered with leaves, poison ivy, tree roots and boulders the size of a house. 

Distance: 2.6 mile one way. Intersects with Sentinel Ridge Trail and Old Wagon Road Trail 
Time: 1.5-2.5 hours
Difficulty: 2.5-4.0
Bathrooms:None on the trail. Trail head Bathrooms located in Wisconsin Ridge Campground
Parking: Very small parking lot on far end of Wisconsin Ridge Campground. 
Water: Fountain located in Wisconsin Ridge Campground.

Old Immigrant Trail and "Old Trail Made New*
In 2007 a deluge of rain caused much damage along the trail systems of Wyalusing State Park. Trails simply disappeared. Ravines replaced areas that once had steps. Trees, rocks and boulders were strewn over all of the trails along Wisconsin Ridge.
The staff of Wyalusing State Park as well as other DNR people spent the last eight years repairing, rererouting, and rebuilding  the trail system.
The last trail, Old Immigrant Trail, was finally opened in the summer of 2015.*



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*Wyalusing State Park Visitor Guide Summer 2015, Lisa Pitzer- Park Manager

New Playground–Homestead Picnic Area

DSC_0086Children visiting Wyalusing State park have a new playground! The playground is located at Homestead Picnic Area. The playground was made possible through the generous donations of The Friends of Wyalusing State Park, Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, and the Knowles Nelson Stewardship Property Grant.

The playground features a slide, rock climb, log jam climb and two swings. The ground cover is 8 inch bark.

It is hoped that the new playground will introduce park visitors to an area of the park. The Homestead Picnic area is located via the Homestead Campground.  A walking/biking trail is located at the end of the south section of the campground.  The picnic area has a  accessible bathroom, water, and a picnic shelter with a fireplace.  The new playground and picnic area is also accessible by car. There are two parking lots – one next to the shelter, and the second located at the Sugar Maple Nature Trail.

Robert Glenn and his family’s  home and farm were located what is now called Homestead Picnic Area. Homestead Campground was part of Glenn’s land.  Robert Glenn had a dream, that one day, this land would become a state park. Finally, in 1917 his dream became reality.  Before Wyalusing State Park, the land was known as Marquette State Park, and Signal Hill State Park. In 1917, it was officially named Nelson Dewey State Park. However locals called it Glenn Park after Robert Glenn, whose dream it was to have the land an official state park. Finally, in 1937, the park was officially called Wyalusing State Park.

Additional Photos can be found by clicking here.