Wyalusing State Park Gets Naturalist Funded by Friends of Wyalusing

Printed with permission from Courier Press*

Image result for becky mummAfter several years, Wyalusing State Park near Prairie du  Chien will again have a naturalist. The park is celebrating  its 100th anniversary this year  and is continually striving to  improve. 

Becky Mumm of Bloomington recently began her duties  at Wyalusing and is looking  forward to the challenges of  her new position and meeting  many of the park’s customers  this spring, summer and fall. 

“I’m just getting settled in  and getting to know the park  and everything it has to offer  as well as getting to know the  campers,” said Becky. “I would  also like any suggestions for  programs that anyone might  have.” 

Becky, 21, is a junior at UW—  Platteville and is majoring in  reclamation and environmental conservation. Some of the  programs she will have include  historical hikes, nature hikes,  birding hikes, the hummingbird banding program, a geo-  logical program, a program  about trees and plants and  native and invasive species,  and canoeing in Glenn Lake  combined with pointing out  plants, wildlife and other interesting features. Canoeing,  of course, is dependent upon  the water level and weather.

“We will definitely be getting out and enjoying the park  and putting it to full use,” she  said.  “I’m excited to have a naturalist," said Wyalusing State  Park Manager Chad Breuer.  “We do get a lot of requests for  programs." Breuer noted that  the naturalist position is made  possible by the financial generosity of the Friends of Wyalusing organization. 

“I grew up on a farm and enjoy being outside,” said Becky,  who will work weekends and  some days during the week. In  addition to working with families, she will also be working  with school groups and other  types of groups. Becky said  that groups can call the park  to set up a program they would  like to participate in. The park  office phone number is (608)  996-2261.

“I’m really looking forward  to working with the people,  the groups and the families,”  said Becky. “Our programs are  family-oriented, educational  and hands-on fun.”   

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by Ted Pennekamp   

Wyalusing State Park featured in Wisconsin Resources Magazine

screenshot-dnr.wi.gov-2017-05-31-09-03-05Below, is an excerpt from the article written by Paul Holtan. Paul Holtan works for the DNR Office of Communications, editing the DNR’s weekly news and outdoor report packets and serving as public affairs manager for the Bureau of Parks and Recreation.

“Standing on the bluffs overlooking the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers 500 feet below, it’s pretty easy to see why John Nolen recommended Wyalusing as one of four locations for Wisconsin’s first state parks in a 1909 report to the State Parks Board. “ (Click to read PDF article)

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Celebrate 100 years–Saturday’s Program

The Friends of Wyalusing was formed in the late 1990s with the mission of supporting the visitor experience by enhancing the connection between nature and the park visitor. The Friends of Wyalusing and Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce along with the Department of Natural Resources will be holding a 100th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, June 3. This coincides with Free Fun Weekend in Wisconsin, when entrance fees and trail passes are waived at Wisconsin State Park System properties. (Please click on images to expand.

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Welcome to Wyalusing State Park–Celebrating 100 Years

scan0005Wyalusing State Park is pleased to announce its 100th Anniversary this year, welcoming new visitors and returning friends to enjoy the great outdoors, and the spectacular view from the bluffs overlooking the river valley in Grant County, Wisconsin. (Link to Centennial Celebration Information)

Wyalusing is open year-round and offers excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation in all seasons. We hope you will join us in celebrating 100 years of Wyalusing State Park.

Wyalusing State Park The idea to create a park at the junction of the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers was both a local movement and statewide initiative. The Robert Glenn family, who owned the land, promoted the concept of a park around the turn of the century. At about the same time, the state Legislature commissioned a report on the subject of state parks for Wisconsin.

The report, completed in 1909, recommended four sites in the state for immediate consideration for acquisition. This area was one of four recommended. The purchase was approved by the Legislature in 1912, and the park established in 1917. The park was first named Nelson Dewey State Park and later changed to Wyalusing. Wyalusing is a Munsee-Delaware Native American word meaning home of the warrior

Since the original purchase, land has been added to the park with preservation of this unique area of Wisconsin as a primary goal. The park now encompasses 2674 acres. Visitors can enjoy camping, hiking, picnicking, scenic scan0011overlooks, bird watching, nature education programs, bicycling, cross-country skiing, fishing, and many other outdoor activities at the park.

As you hike the park trails downward from the bluff tops, you are walking back in time. Each layer of dolomite (limestone), shale, and sandstone is older than the layer above it. Native Americans

People began arriving here about 11,000 years ago, as the glaciers retreated. Many left evidence of their life and culture behind. The Red Ochre Culture appeared around 1000 B.C. They were followed by the Hopewell Native Americans and the Effigy Mound builders. Archeologists tell us that these groups were the builders of the many mounds on Sentinel Ridge, Spook Hill and other areas of the park. Burial of the dead was one reason Woodland Native Americans constructed mounds. Most of the dome-shaped, conical mounds contain skeletons. Effigy mounds, those shaped like deer, bears, birds, turtles, and other animals, were more than just a simple burial method. Construction may have been religious, an indication of territorial possession, or a ceremonial group activity.

Some land features in the park have been named for Native Americans of the region. Green Cloud Picnic Area is named for the Winnebago Chief who led the last band of Native Americans to camp in the park. Eagle Eye Bluff, Yellow Thunder Point, and Big Chief Bluff are colorful names that honor those people who lived here long ago.

Other areas in the park received names for the way they were used by the Native Americans. Signal Point was used for signal fires. Native American sentries used Point Lookout to keep watch on the rivers. Chert (flint) was gathered for arrowheads along what is now Flint Ledge Trail. Continue Reading……

How High’s the Water….?

The River is flowing too fast for safe canoeing. In addition, debris that has fallen across the canoe trail creates eddies which are dangerous for canoers. "Flood Warnings remain in effect along the Mississippi River at Wabasha and Mcgregor.
River forecasts take into account both observed and forecast precipitation.
Starting Saturday, May 20, the river will reach Action stage. Then, Wednesday, May 24 the river reaches Minor flood stage.
Even with the absence of additional rain in the north, the river continues to flood through Monday, May 29.
During the best times for canoeing and kayaking, the river flows at 85 thousand cubic feet per second in the Mississippi River at McGregor Iowa. The canoe/kayak area is located in Woodyard slough where the water flows at a much slower rate. At the predicted flood stage The Mississippi River will flow at 146 thousand cubic feet per second.

Canoes and Kayaks will be removed from storage racks at the Wyalusing State Park Boat Landing. DSC_5407.

Updates to follow.

The Friends of Wyalusing State Park

fowBy Bruce Klang
Friends of Wyalusing President
2017 marks the centennial year as a state park here at Wyalusing. The Friends of Wyalusing State Park would like to welcome all visitors to explore and enjoy your park and appreciate its history.
We are a private nonprofit organization dedicated to .enhancing the interpretive and recreational experience of visitors to the park. We provide funding for much of the interpretive projects, information, and programming here at Wyalusing.
As we look back we know that this beautiful park would not be possible without the dedication of many people over the years.
Starting in the l860's, a young man named Robert Glenn not only dreamed of but strived to make this a special place for future generations. The forward-looking Wisconsin state legislature decided, in the first decade of the 20th century, that this area needed to be preserved. Paul Lawrence, the first park manager, worked his entire career to make that dream a reality.
On to modern day where many dedicated professionals and volunteers continue to preserve and protect that heritage and your park.
You can be a part of the next 100 years at Wyalusing. We welcome you to join our efforts to give back to your park. Please pick. up a brochure at the park visitor center or visit us online at http://www.wyalusingfriendsorg.
Your support will help Wyalusing State Park continue to be an inspiration to future generations of visitors like you. While you are here at the park please drop by the concession stand located adjacent to the Peterson shelter building. The concession is operated by the Friends of Wya1using State Park and proceeds from sales go back into the park for interpretive needs. We are also the first state park friends group to establish an endowment fund with the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. Your contributions to this fund will live on indefinitely, providing growth to be used for interpretive activities. You can learn more by picking up a brochure at the visitor center, the concession or our Website.
Many people come to Wyalusing and leave inspired. A few turn that inspiration into assistance for this magnificent place. It is our sincere hope that you truly enjoy your stay here at Wyalusing and hope that our efforts have enhanced your experience.  (To enlarge image, click on it.)

100th Anniversary Fun run-Walk

Come on out for free park admission AND a day of 100th-anniversary fun! The day kicks off with an organized trail fun run/walk beginning with registration at 8:30. Bring the family, bring your shoes and have a lot of fun! This is an untimed event meant to enjoy the outdoors while celebrating our 100th anniversary. First 50 people get a water bottle! Donations will be taken at registration! Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/293117854452154/
Sign up here: http://www.wherevent.com/detail/Friends-of-Wyalusing-100th-Anniversary-Trail-RunWalk

Wyalusing State Park has much to offer for everyone

By Ted Pennekamp, Courier Press, 4/3/2017

Wyalusing State Park, at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers, will be 100 years old this year. In commemoration of this event, a Centennial Celebration will be held on Saturday, June 3.

There will be an open house and free admission that day with fun activities planned for the whole family including nature hikes, children’s games, a 5K trail walk, history and park presentations, and music.

Wyalusing State Park is the state’s fourth oldest and one of the prettiest, offering great bluff-top views of the backwaters and main channels of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers.

Wyalusing is steeped in history and interesting geology, and park personnel are also continually trying to find new ways to appeal to the park’s clientele.

“I love the park and working with the public,” said Wyalusing Property Supervisor Chad Breuer. “The park can create some really good memories and experiences, and it’s getting busier every year. We continue to draw new clientele and repeat customers.”

Breuer said that new apps have been implemented within the past five years, such as the “Go Ranger” app, to help customers enjoy all that the park has to offer. “We’re continually looking at what the customers want,” said Breuer.

Breuer said there have been several improvements to the park in the last several years and there will be more to come.

The Larry Huser Astronomy Education Building was built in 1999, and many people make use of the observatory where the Starsplitters Astronomy Club conducts educational programs throughout the year for school groups as well as the public.

Breuer also said that the park is looking to upgrade some facilities and improve some roads. The Peterson Shelter, for example, recently received some tuck point and lighting work. Bids have also been let for a new shower building for the Homestead Campground.

In May, said Breuer, the park will be bringing back a part-time naturalist with financial help from the Friends of Wyalusing State Park, whose mission is to support and promote the educational, interpretive, and recreational goals of the park.

“Starting in May, the naturalist will be working with children and families,” said Breuer. “I’m really excited about that.”

Another improvement includes the re-establishment, in 2015, of a natural prairie on about two acres near the Larry Huser Building.

Several years ago, some park staff placed and maintained hummingbird feeders at and near the park entrance. As expected, the hummingbirds became quite an attraction, and a hummingbird educational program was established within the past few years. In fact, last year, hummingbird banders banded 65 birds.

“It’s become quite popular,” said Breuer. “Banding is a great opportunity for kids or adults. Data has been collected and the kids are fascinated. We conduct hummingbird banding two or three weekends each year.”

The boat landing, of course, is another popular feature of the park, as is the canoe trail. Breuer noted that the boat landing is run in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous anglers enjoy the waters bordering the park. Within the past few years, the canoe trail has been moved off of the main channel and is now more in the winding backwaters of the Wisconsin-Mississippi confluence. Breuer said that more signs have been put up marking the trail, which now can be enjoyed by canoeists and kayakers of all skill levels. He said the Friends of Wyalusing run the canoe and kayak rental and also a concession stand where customers can buy food, bug spray and other camping supplies.

For people wishing to read up on the history of the park and all that it has to offer, Breuer said that the 100th anniversary edition of “Wyalusing,” published by the Wisconsin DNR will be available within the next few weeks. The 99th anniversary edition has numerous interesting articles about the geology and history of the region including Native Americans, Europeans, fur traders, miners and farmers. There are also many articles and photographs about plants and animals, the many effigy mounds in the park, big sand cave, hunting and trapping opportunities, winter recreation, the old immigrant trail, camping opportunities, educational programs and a wealth of other information.

How Wyalusing State Park came to be

The idea to create a park at the junction of the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers was both a local movement and statewide initiative. The Robert Glenn family, who owned the land, promoted the concept of a park around the turn of the century. At about the same time, the state Legislature commissioned a report on the subject of state parks for Wisconsin. The report, completed in 1909, recommended four sites in the state for immediate consideration for acquisition. This area was one of four recommended. The purchase was approved by the Legislature in 1912, and the park established in 1917. The park was first named Nelson Dewey State Park and changed to Wyalusing in 1937.

The present Nelson Dewey State Park, south of Wyalusing State Park near Cassville, was created in 1935. It preserves the first governor’s restored home.

The Civilian Conservation Corps

During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a public works program that put more than 3 million youths and adults to work, had a camp here. Its members built park roads and trails and started the Peterson Shelter, which was finished by another federal program, the Works Progress Administration (WPA). They built stone fireplaces in shelters and picnic areas.

A bronze plaque, commemorating the Civilian Conservation Corps at Wyalusing State Park is located in a large rock at the entrance to the Outdoor Group Camp (the site of the CCC camp). The “old park office” has been refurbished. An original kiosk, built by the CCC, is located immediately west of the “old office.” Large information panels describing the “Days of the CCC” are found in the kiosk.

Wyalusing State Park today

Wyalusing State Park has been a gem of southwest Wisconsin since June of 1917. More than 2,600 acres include stunning vistas, river wetlands and bluff-top forests. The park is home to hundreds of species of plants and animals including 284 distinct bird species. The Passenger Pigeon Monument near the Sentinel Ridge Trail is the first monument in the world dedicated to an extinct bird. The park has 22 miles of hiking trails, four caves, and 109 campsites.

More than 200,000 visitors enjoy camping, fishing and canoeing in the park every year.

The 100th anniversary logo for Wyalusing State Park depicts a Kentucky warbler and a Chinquapin oak tree. It was designed by local artist Arthur J. Schmitz.

Wyalusing State Park is open year-round from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. From Highway 18-Highway 35, turn west on County Highway C just south of the Wisconsin River Bridge. Follow County C to County X. Turn right on County X and go one mile to the park entrance. Directional signs are at each intersection.

The Friends of Wyalusing, the Prairie du Chien Chamber of Commerce and the Wisconsin DNR will be hosting the 100th anniversary celebration on June 3. For updated information, interested persons can check www.wyalusingfriends.org.

For more information about Wyalusing State Park, there are several links on the Wisconsin DNR website: dnr.wi.gov.

Welcome to Wyalusing State Park

Wyalusing State Park is located over 500 feet above the confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin River. The park contains 2600 acres including stunning bluff views, river wetlands, bluff-top forests, and home to hundreds of species of plants and animals including 284 distinct bird species.
The logo for Wyalusing State Park and The Friends of Wyalusing State park features the Kentucky Warbler and Chinquapin Oak tree.
Within the park boundaries, three threatened species: Cerulean and Kentucky Warbler and Acadian Flycatcher can be seen throughout the summer. All are more southern species that nest along the steep slopes of this park.
During the spring and summer, the rolling song of the Kentucky Warbler can be heard throughout the forests. The Kentucky Warbler spends most of its time on the ground in moist, leafy woodlands in search of insects. Despite its bright colors, it can be surprisingly hard to see in the shadows of the deep forest interior.
The Kentucky Warbler winters in the tropics of central Mexico and the Yucatan Penninsula. A group of Kentucky Warblers is collectively known as a "Derby" of warblers, perhaps, because it is named for the state in which it was first discovered in 1811, by Alexander Wilson.
The Chinquapin Oak, a Wisconsin Special Concern plant.  It is native to eastern and central North America, ranging from Vermont west to Wisconsin and south to South Carolina, western Florida, New Mexico, and northeastern Mexico from Coahuila south to Hidalgo. It is very rare in Wisconsin, barely reaching the southwestern corner of the state on a few very dry sites near the Mississippi River. Chinkapin oak is generally found on well-drained upland soils derived from limestone or where limestone outcrops occur. Occasionally it is found on well-drained limestone soils along streams.
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The 100th Anniversary emblem for Wyalusing State Park was designed by local artist Arthur J. Schmitz for the park's centennial, a volunteer donation incorporating updated artwork of the traditional Warbler & Oak representation.