No Canoe Rental at Wyalusing State Park

nocanoe

The  Mississippi at McGregor is going to crest on Sunday/Monday at around 14.4 ft. (flood stage is 13 ft.). The rate at which it returns to flood stage will more than likely be determined by the amount of rain we receive this weekend. The water is currently covering the area of blacktop below the canoes. I would say it would be a good idea to not rent any canoes and kayaks through Tuesday and which time we can re-assess the situation.

All park roads and camping is open.
Lisa M. Pitzer
Park Manager – Parks and Recreation
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Phone: (608) 996-2261
Fax:(608) 996-2410
Lisa.Pitzer@wisconsin.govl

Smokey Bear’s Birthday Bash

View 2016 Photos
by Wyalusing State Park Staff
Smokey Bear celebrates his 71st birthday at Wyalusing State Park on Saturday, August 6th. Smokey will lead a parade of children and adults on foot, bikes and in wagons through the scenic Wisconsin Ridge Campground. Following the parade, party goers are invited to have their pictures taken with the famous bear.
Racheal Breuer, wife of property supervisor, Chad Breuer, will read“The True Story of Smokey Bear” from a large picture book. Then, Smokey and the children will gather around a beautiful birthday cake, On the count of 3, they blow out all 71 lit candles and enjoy cake and lemonade. Each child in attendance will receive a Smokey Bear canvas tote bag filled with Smokey paraphernalia.
Smokey’s birthday party is sponsored by the Friends of Wyalusing State Park and Wisconsin DNR. (Additional Photos---)
The program is free, but a state park admission sticker is required on each vehicle. The Friends of Wyalusing would like to invite everyone to spend the day in the park, pack a picnic supper and stay for the program. The trails are in excellent hiking condition and canoes and kayaks are available for rent at the concession stand. An afternoon paddling the marked canoe trail on the Mississippi River is an excellent way to spend one of the last weekends before school starts. Donations to the Friends of Wyalusing State Park, a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization may be mailed to Wyalusing State Park 13081 State Park Lane, Bagley, WI 53801.
The Friends of Wyalusing State Park are sponsoring another special event on the last Saturday of September - The Fall Festival. The event is hi-lighted with carved pumpkins, live music, torch lit trail to Point Lookout, and food.

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.

Harvest Fest 2015

The Friends of Wyalusing State Park sponsor a major event on the last Saturday of every September. This year, the event was called harvest Fest 2015.  Everyone was welcomed. Campers and park visitors from the surrounding area look forward to the event which featured live music,  a silent auction, a story teller, and trails lighted by torch luminaries and carved pumpkins with glowing candles.
A record number of pumpkin carvers appeared at the park’s maintenance  building. Seventy  pumpkins were provided by The Friends of Wyalusing. Families, camping at Wyalusing, 4-H  members, and girl scouts all joined in the fun.  Youngsters, as well as those young at heart, worked to create a master piece.  The pumpkins  were placed along a park trail by park staff, volunteers and a Prairie du Chien girl scout troop.  As the sun set, candles inside each pumpkins were lighted. The owners of the pumpkins take home their creations at the end of the festivities. A pizza party was held for the carvers and their families. The pizza and other snacks were provided by The Friends of Wyalusing.
The evening festivities included live music, luminaries along the trails, a silent auction, and food.
The music was provided by Sixteen Strings and a Stick, The trio, Crisse Reynolds, Bill Rice, and Brad Johnson, played and sang a variety of songs from country western to Irish jigs.
Park staff lit the luminaries and the pumpkins. As music was playing, park visitors walked along the lighted trail leading the Point Lookout. Pumpkins provided additional atmosphere.
Silent auction items were provided by The Friends of Wyalusing and park visitors. Items also included handcrafted items, a quilt and a large pillow created using  Wyalusing t-shirt logos, and a special basket featuring donated items from the Prairie Street Farmers Market.
Additional photos and movies can be found on the Friends of Wyalusing web site. (http://www.wyalusingfriends.org)

FOW Endowment Fund

Friends of Wyalusing were THE FIRST Wisconsin Friends Group to start endowment fund...

The Friends of Wyalusing is the very first friends group of a state park in Wisconsin to start an endowment fund for a state park. We started by depositing a $1000 in an "acorn fund" with the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.  The goal was to deposit $1,000 each year until the fund reached  $10,000. at that point we could either withdraw 5%  of the fund or let it grow.

The Friends of Wyalusing State Park are very proud to be able to leave this legacy for future generations and hope you will support us in making our "acorn" grow into a mighty oak for the future.

'I am so proud to be part of Wyalusing State Park. At this moment, the Friends of Wyalusing are making a very positive step towards the future of this park.' Brian Hefty, Wyalusing State Park Manager continued, ' I am certain that this Endowment Fund will only grow."

When asked about the meaning of the Endowment Fund for the future, Kathy Paske, Secretary of Friends of Wyalusing said, "The park is a special place in many different respects--historical, geographical, diverse flora and fauna and spiritual to name a few. We want to make sure future Friends have the means to continue our conservation and education efforts."

Bruce Klang wrote, "For all of my adult life, I have worked for Wisconsin State Parks. I have seen first hand the impact these natural areas can have on park visitors of all backgrounds. Our family grew up camping and enjoying our parks and we hope that future families will have the same opportunities."

The Friends of Wyalusing State Park Endowment Fund is a permanent endowment that was created by the Friends of Wyalusing State Park to provide a perpetual source of funding to support the natural resources and educational, interpretive and recreational needs of Wyalusing State Park. The Endowment fund was begun in February of 2009. The endowment is managed by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. Contributions to Fund are tax-deductible and can be made by sending a check to the Natural Resources Foundation of WI, Attn: Friends of Wyalusing State Park Endowment Fund, PO Box 2317, Madison, WI 53701 or by donating online at www.wisconservation.org.


If you love Wyalusing State Park and want to help protect its natural beauty and recreational opportunities for future generations to enjoy and explore, consider leaving a legacy gift behind by including the Friends of Wyalusing State Park Endowment Fund in your will. To leave a bequest to the Fund, simply incorporate the following language in your estate plans: “I give [describe the gift] to the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [federal tax id # 39-1572034], a nonprofit corporation organized and existing under the laws of Wisconsin and with a principal mailing address of PO Box 2317, Madison, WI 53701. This gift shall be designated to the Friends of Wyalusing State Park Endowment Fund.”

The Friends of Wyalusing

The Friends of Wyalusing was formed in the late 1990’s. The organization had 16 members. Since its inception, the mission of the Friends of Wyalusing is dedicated to supporting and enhancing the visitor experience by enhancing the connection between nature and the park visitor. Today, there are eight active members and a little more than 80 members on the roll.

The Friends of Wyalusing made their presence known as “big Stinky” met its demise in 2001. The removal of Wisconsin’s largest open-pit toilet became a national event. The Friends of Wyalusing had its most successful T-shirt sales ever. Quite literally, a truck load of t-shirts were sold as a fund raiser. The Friends of Wyalusing made a cleaning that year.

The Friends of Wyalusing also played a part in Wisconsin’s Centennial celebration of its Park system. Hundreds of people came to the park to see the launching of four hot air balloons. One of the balloons was a huge Smoky Bear. A decade later, the Friends group celebrates Smokey’s birthday. Smokey Bear leads children and adults around Wisconsin Ridge Campground inviting one and all to the birthday party held at the Peterson Picnic Shelter. Smokey rides in the back of the Park’s electric vehicle. Children decorate their bicycles. The Friends of Wyalusing, organize the event which ends with games, stories birthday cake and ice cream.

One of “The Friends” most successful events was known as “The Spirits of Wyalusing Past”.  Interesting, colorful, historical tidbits of the area are presented by ‘Spirits of Wyalusing Past’. The “Spirits” are portrayed by members of “The Friends” and other volunteers who have talent and a willingness to portray a character.  It was moved to the last weekend of September in 2004, because of more favorable weather. Local scout groups and camping families decorate and carve donated pumpkins. The lighted pumpkins and lighted tiki torches were placed along the .5 mile trail part of which follows the Sentinel Ridge. The Friends of Wyalusing and family members served as guides. After the walk, home-made treats are served. A silent auction was also held during the event. Each of the items was donated by member of The Friends of Wyalusing. It was not unusual to have over 250 visitors attend this event.

However, due to dwindling members who live close-by, The Friends of Wyalusing have found it very difficult to maintain this program. The “Spirits of Wyalusing Past” was changed to Harvest Celebration.  The Harvest Celebration still has, pumpkin carving, Lighted tiki torch walk, a silent auction and snacks. In place of the “Spirits” a live band plays music in the Peterson Shelter.

During the early 2000’s the Friends of Wyalusing began to operate the concession stand in the east end of the Peterson Picnic Shelter. The concession stand operates during the summer camping season. All of the profits are returned to the park for projects which enhance the visitor experience.
Through Affinity Grant Awards, matching funds and other grants, The Friends of Wyalusing have been able to provide almost all of the information signage, trail signs and nature signs found in the park, including the entrance sign welcoming all to Wyalusing State Park. Informational kiosks, found throughout the park, provide information about invasive species, Friends events, and park happenings.

The Friends group assisted in the purchase of a new flagpole at the visitor contact station. The Amphitheater, located at the Hugh Harper Indoor Camp, was partially funded by the Friends of Wyalusing. A fireplace insert, located in the fireplace of the Nature center, provides warmth to campers and park visitors during cool damp days thanks to the Friends group. The Friends of Wyalusing also provided funds for the major rehab of the Paul Lawrence Interpretive Center.

The Friends of Wyalusing through matching grants, paid for completely rewiring the Peterson Picnic Shelter, Nature Center, and the Concession stand in 2014. The Friends of Wyalusing are very thankful for the 1000’s of people who visit the park, and stop by the concession stand to purchase items, rent canoes or kayaks, or drop off donations.

In 2014, The Friends of Wyalusing, helped with the rededication of the Passenger Pigeon monument.

In 2015, the Friends of Wyalusing State Park along with shared grants funded a new playground at Homestead Picnic area.  In addition to the Homestead campground.
One of the most note-worthy projects that the Friends of Wyalusing has undertaken is the creation of the Endowment Fund. The Friends of Wyalusing was the very first Friends group to start an Endowment Fund for a State Park. When asked about the meaning of the Endowment Fund for the future, Kathy Paske, Secretary of Friends of Wyalusing said, “The park is a special place in many different respects--historical, geographical, diverse flora and fauna and spiritual to name a few. We want to make sure future Friends have the means to continue our conservation and education efforts.”

We are hopeful that a shower building and bathrooms will become a reality shortly,for Homestead Campground.

The website  - www.Wyalusingfriends.org features interactive maps, 100’s of photos, 10’s of videos, and information formatted for Web-enabled devices.