Point Lookout

A winter day at point Lookout

Group Campground

Dedicated to CCC and WPA

Bluff Trail

A nice walk

Wyalusing State Park

Main roads are plowed.

Groomed XC trail

Located near Observatory

Snowshoe Trails

Enjoy miles of trails by snowshoe.

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

Wyalusing Winter Camping

"The Wisconsin Ridge Campground flush building, Homestead showers and all water faucets throughout the park are closed for the season. The Wisconsin Ridge shower/flush building remains open and is scheduled to be shut down on Monday, October 19. The dump station is also closed, but campers can still dump if they have enough water to flush. A winterized faucet is available east of the shower/flush building in the Wisconsin Ridge Campground. The concession stand is closed for the season. Firewood is available near the park entrance." (Wyalusing State Park)

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.


The Sugar Maple Trail is your ticket to a wonder of winter. Sugar Maple Trail invites users to explore 1.5 miles all seasons of the year. Both hikers and snowshoers enjoy conquering the steep slopes and the series of steps found along this heavily wooded, self-guided nature trail. Interpretive signage along the path identifies various plants and states ecological principles. Deep in the recesses of a narrow niche in Wyalusing’s 500-foot-high bluffs lies Pictured Rock Cave. In winter the sheltering dolomite overhang holds a beautiful frozen waterfall from rim to floor.
Ski poles are recommended.
Access to Sugar Maple trail may be a little daunting. Homestead drive isn’t being plowed. Therefore, parking access to Homestead parking area isn’t accessible.
Long Drive (the road to the boat docks) is being plowed. The closest access to Sugar Maple trail is at the boat dock parking lot.
Stop in at the park office and ask about road conditions. While you are at the office, ask about Friends of Wyalusing shirts and sweatshirts. They make wonderful Christmas presents.

Professor Stanley Temple Presents Passenger Pigeon Program

On Saturday, October 4, 2014, Professor Emeritus Stanley Temple visited Wyalusing State Park and presented park visitors with a program about the Passenger Pigeon. Just under 25 brave souls attended the very chilly Saturday morning. (Photo left: Prof. Stanley Temple, Friends of Wyalusing president Bruce Klang, and Ranger John Moore)

Wyalusing State Park visitors listened as Temple recounted the story of the now extinct passenger pigeon –once one of of the world’s most abundant birds. Temple recounted the sobering story of the passenger pigeon and what it can tell us about the ongoing extinction crisis and the human relationship with other species.

Many visitors to Wyalusing State Park have stopped at the Passenger Pigeon Monument, where a stone monument with a bronze plaque featuring a passenger pigeon drawn by a Wisconsin bird artist Owen Gromme was designed and A.W. Schorger composed an inscription.  Members of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology  erected a monument to commemorate the 1899 death of the last passenger pigeon in Wisconsin and the 1914 extinction of the entire species. It was unveiled in 1946 and dedicated by Aldo Leopold. Paul Lawrence, the park superintendent at that time,  oversaw the construction of the monument. 

For 32 years Professor Stanley Temple occupied the faculty position once held by Aldo Leopold and while in that position earned every teaching award for which he was eligible. He and his students have worked on endangered species problems in 21 different countries, and have helped save some of the world's rarest and most endangered species, especially birds. Temple has received recognition for his work in conservation from numerous organizations, and has authored over 330 publications. He has long been interested in passenger pigeons, having analyzed historical records of the species that were first assembled by A. W. Schorger for his 1955 book on the life history and ecology of the species.

Year End Updates

October brings another fiscal year end for the Friends of Wyalusing State Park. We take this time to look back at what we have done this year as well as forward to the things we can accomplish for the park in FY 2015. Our annual general membership meeting will take place at the Peterson shelter on October 13, 2014 at 6:00 PM. It is appropriate that this is also Columbus day as we chart our course into the unknown waters of the future. I hope to see as many of you as possible at this meeting. The election of board members will will take place at this meeting. This year we have some openings, so it is a great time to let your voice be heard and become move involved in your organization. The new board of directors will meet immediately following the general meeting and appoint officers from their ranks for 2015. You are all welcome to attend.
The FOWSP continued to make strides to improve the park in 2014. With new grills for families to gather for a cookout and programming for all ages like the ever popular Smoky Birthday Bash, Spirits of Wyalusing,hikes, basket weaving cooking demos and much more. We joined the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology in the commemoration of the Passenger Pigeon and the great monument got a needed face lift. We shared our park and our passion with the larger community at events like Bald Eagle days and in partnerships with groups like the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks and the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. We worked with school groups to spark a love of nature in the next generation of park visitors. we made made improvements in your organization as well. The By-Laws were updated in 2014 to better meet the needs of the organization and the park.
But we are not stopping now. We anticipate good news any day on a Cabela's Outdoor Fund grant that would help us to provide a new play area. The endowment fund continues to grow and will one day provide sustaining funds for our efforts. We look forward not just to 2015, but ahead to the parks centennial in 2017. There is a lot to do, but with your continued support, we will do great things together.
Again, thank you all for a fabulous 2014. Please mark your calendar and attend if you can, the general meeting on MONDAY OCTOBER 13, 2014, 6:00 PM. There will be treats!!!
Your Friend,
Bruce L. Klang
President - Friends of Wyalusing State Park