Listening to the leaves fall on the trails.

Surprises around each bend.

Discover new vistas

Governor Dodge State Park

Tower Hill and High Cliff State Park*

by Jonathon Ringdahl*
Tower Hill iimages a beautiful state park located in southwest Wisconsin. This park tells the tale of an old lead shot producing facility that is set amongst gorgeous scenery. Hikers can venture up to the top to see where the process starts and take in a spectacular view over the countryside. Lucky will be the traveler who perches upon this spot in the fall. Colorful trees will extend as far as the eye can see. The shot tower building details the story of the facility. Hiking down the hill will allow guests to see another step in the process. A final descent to the river allows one to see the end of the process all while enjoying beautiful levels of the forest. For those wishing for more time here, there is a campground. If you stay at Governor Dodge State Park, you are only a short drive from Tower Hill State Park. Come on over and check out Tower Hill State Park the next time you are passing by! You will be happy you did!
High Cliff State Park welcomes visitors with great views over Lake Winnebago. If the Limestone Cliffs do not giveimage you a high enough view of the lake, there is an observation tower to get you even higher! My dad and I enjoyed climbing its steps to take in a great view. Visitors can come to camp and explore this diverse park. There are effigy mounds and lime kiln ruins to learn about. The park also contains a marina. Bring your boat, canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddle board to play with while you are right next to Wisconsin’s largest inland lake. We enjoyed our stay in this beautiful park and we know you will too!
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***** Jonathon Ringdahl visited all of Wisconsin’s 64 State Parks, State Forests, and recreational areas in 2012. This is another in a series of articles he is writing for the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. Opinions expressed in this blog are the author’s

Kohler-Andrae, Harrington Beach State Parks*

image_thumb[2]Kohler-Andrae State Park is another park nestled against Lake Michigan’s beautiful shores. My dad and I fondly recall our visit here. It was just before sunset in late October. We were on a long stretch of park visits over the last several days of getting up early and visiting parks until sundown or later. We were walking along the boardwalk when we spotted a doe and older fawn standing on top of the ridge above the lake with the lake accenting them from behind. It was a magical scene that we will never forget. The park offers great beach access. Visitors are welcome to camp here too. The park offers a regular and a group campground. If Lake Michigan does not offer enough water for you, the Black River runs through the park and there is a fishing pond too. Come out and make some great memories at Kohler-Andrae State Park!
Harrington Beach State Park is a great place to take in all of the splendors of Lake Michigan. There is a beach forimage_thumb[3] people and another for people accompanied by their furry best friends. All of the state parks along Lake Michigan have great beaches. This park follows suit. Shuttles transport people along the road paralleling the beach in the summer. Quarry Lake and Puckett's Pond provide great fishing areas as well as, along with the beach, great picnic areas. It was a good idea that they built a campground because this park is one worth spending a relaxing weekend at. My dad and I spent a night here. We woke up in the morning and took a hike toward the beach. We saw a doe with two fawns feeding on the way to the beach. We kept our distance and they did not mind our presence. It made for a special morning. Memories are waiting to be made at our parks. It's up to us to go make them.
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***** Jonathon Ringdahl visited all of Wisconsin’s 64 State Parks, State Forests, and recreational areas in 2012. This is another in a series of articles he is writing for the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. Opinions expressed in this blog are the author’s

Devil’s Lake, Hartman Creek State Parks*

(Editor’s Note: This is the last in a series of posts by Jonathon Ringdahl. We hope that his articles inspire others to write about a favorite Wisconsin State Park, Recreational Area, or Trail)
image_thumb[4]_thumbDevil’s Lake State Park is a beautiful park as many people know. It is Wisconsin’s most visited state parks. Anyone who has been there will tell you why. The towering bluffs rising above the lake are spectacular. The lake possesses very clear water. There is plenty of room to roam around and a great trail network for exploring in Wisconsin’s largest state park. The park contains several campgrounds so people can stay for an extended period because there is so much to see! My favorite sites are those with teepees. I love to stay in them! They come with four cots in each one. There are only two in the park and they tend to be booked up on the weekends well in advance. I would like into reserving one ten months in advance if you want one for a summer weekend. Summer weekdays will give you greater opportunities for a reservation. I love hiking on the top of the bluffs. The views are awesome! The Balanced Rock Trail to the East Bluff Trail is my favorite bluff hike. My favorite overall hike is Parfrey’s Glenn. It is a beautiful gorge that is accessed from a trailhead a little bit of a drive from the lake. It is well worth the drive, however. The gorge will amaze you with its beauty and ends at a small waterfall. I would recommend waterproof boots as the trail can be muddy in places. Beauty is around every corner at Devil’s Lake!
Hartman Creek State Park is centered around a beautiful spring-fed chain of lakes. There are seven lakes with crystal clear waters. With all of these lakes,image_thumb[6]_thumb there ample opportunities for swimming, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and many other water-based recreational pursuits. Several fishing piers have been constructed. There are so many trails to hike as well! The Ice Age National Scenic Trail runs through the park too. My dad and I visited on a rainy day and the park was still beautiful! I can only imagine how beautiful it must be on a nice sunny day. Come for the day or spend the weekend camping here. You are sure to have fun!
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***** Jonathon Ringdahl visited all of Wisconsin’s 64 State Parks, State Forests, and recreational areas in 2012. This is another in a series of articles he is writing for the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. Opinions expressed in this blog are the author’s

Pike Lake, and Lake Wissota State Parks*

image_thumb[7]_thumb_thumbPike Lake State Park offers some great hiking that can lead to a great view if you choose to climb the tower that rises high above the surrounding landscape. Summer and fall are the ideal times to be on top of the tower. My dad and I were there late in the fall after almost all of the leafs had fallen off of the trees. The view was impressive nonetheless. Pike Lake also has a beach with two shelters plus a playground. Several trails meander through the forest. One unique trail near the campground is the Astronomy Trail that takes you on a path through the solar system. Check it out!
Lake Wissota State Park has so much to offer. Its location along the lake is beautiful. There are trails along the beachimage_thumb[8]_thumb_thumb with overlooks to take in the view. Of course, no lake park would be complete without a beach and there is a big one here. There are also many trails going through the forest to enjoy. The park has secluded campsites for an extended and relaxing stay. The park features fishing piers as well so you can hopefully have a fish dinner. There is a boat landing too. The park is popular with kayakers, canoeists, and boaters. There is something for everyone at Lake Wissota State Park. Come out and make some great memories here!
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***** Jonathon Ringdahl visited all of Wisconsin’s 64 State Parks, State Forests, and recreational areas in 2012. This is another in a series of articles he is writing for the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. Opinions expressed in this blog are the author’s

Poynette student wins state contest*

5422f0b8b38dc.imageThe winning design for the 2015 Wisconsin State Parks admission sticker features a butterfly atop of a purple coneflower and was designed by Josie Tollaksen, a junior at Poynette High School.
The winning design was selected from 167 entries into the design contest. It will be printed on state park and forest annual vehicle admission stickers and displayed on more than 150,000 vehicles.
The second place design features a great blue heron in flight by Whitney Ryan of Appleton North High School. The third place winner was a design of herons and maple leafs by Austin Steelman, Waukesha South High School. Second, third and runner up designs are available by searching the Department of Natural Resources website dnr.wi.gov for "contest."
The vehicle admission stickers provide access to more than 60 state park, forest and recreation area properties across Wisconsin. The stickers are required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require a sticker.
Admission sticker cost is $25 for Wisconsin residents or $35 for nonresidents.
A family with more than one vehicle registered to the same household may purchase additional state park stickers at half price. A senior citizen annual sticker for $10 is available for Wisconsin Residents 65 years of age and older. Annual trail passes are $20 for residents and nonresidents.
The 2015 vehicle admission stickers will go on sale in December.
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*Poynette Press, Sept 26, 2014