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2014 State Park and Trail Awards Banquet

You are Invited!
On Saturday – October 11, 2014, join the Friends of Wisconsin State parks and Friends members from around the state to celebrate 2014 accomplishments.
Enjoy an evening at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, One John Nolen Drive, Madison, Wisconsin.
Please join us to celebrate our 2014 State Park and Trail Awards. All Friends Groups and Friends of Wisconsin State Parks members, Park System staff and trail visitors are invited.
Please RSVP to to patricia.loosen@ wisconsin.gov (patricia.loosen@ wisconsin.gov ) by October 3, 2014.
Dinner: $20.00 donation requested the evening of the event. Vegetarian option is available. Please indicate with RSVP.
Anyone who wants to stay overnight that evening will need to book a hotel now – there are a lot of things going on that day in Madison – mainly a Badger home football game!  Click for list of Hotels
5:00 PM Social Time - Cocktails
5:30 PM Dinner
6:30 PM Welcome Remarks:  Roger Putnam – FWSP President, Cathy Stepp – Secretary of Wisconsin DNR
7:00 PM Keynote Address: US Senator Tammy Baldwin – Invited Guest
7:15 PM Awards Presentation: HERO Awards, President’s Award, Gold Seal & Photo Contest Awards
8:30 PM Closing Remarks

2014 Photo Contest

"Film the Fun"
fwspPhotoContest2013   Google DriveThe Friends of Wisconsin State Parks (FWSP) invites all interested individuals to enter their favorite State Park, Forest, or Trail photos in our sixth annual photography competition. Winners will be featured in the 2015 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Calendar, released in October 2014.
There are a lot of activities happening at Wisconsin state parks during the four seasons. We ask that your entries include beautiful scenery or activities like geocaching, art in the park, hiking, candlelight skis, kayaking, horseback riding, out with pets, and mountain biking.
The deadline for all submissions is Sunday, August 31, 2014.

Who May Enter:
Submissions are accepted from amateur photographers ages 14 and over. Professional photographers who earn more than half of their income taking pictures are not eligible. The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks board members will determine winners' eligibility.
Employees of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and board members of the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks and their immediate family members are not eligible to win.

Photographs must have been shot within the past three years (since January 1, 2012).
  • Photographs must portray a specific Wisconsin State Park, Forest, or Trail and cannot include illegal activities (i.e. camping in an unauthorized area). We are looking for photos that show scenes from the parks, forests, trails and recreation areas. Wildlife photos will not score as high as scenery submissions.
  • Only Horizontal images will be accepted.
  • Light edits/enhancements only — heavy effects or manipulations will not be considered.
  • Photos must be submitted electronically. All photos must be described on the contest entry form, which must be included with your photos.
  • An entrant must hold all rights to a photograph. For a photo in which a person is recognizable, you must secure a model release from the subject and include this with the submission.
  • Photographs previously published or pending publication, or photos that violate or infringe upon another person's copyright, are not eligible.
  • You may submit more than one photograph per season and up to four(4) total entries. We do not accept more than one contestant per email address.
  • Photos must be the highest resolution possible — a minimum of 1600px x 2000px at 300 dpi.
By entering a photo, you are verifying:
  • The image is your own;
  • The photo has not been altered beyond light editing/enhancements.
  • The photo is not subject to any third party agreements;
  • No laws were violated in obtaining the photo. 

How to Enter:
Internet access is required to participate in the contest. Participants must review the full rules before entering any photos. Photos must be submitted electronically. There is no entry fee to participate. No more than four(4) photos may be entered by any one member.

FWSP will review each photograph received and will accept only those entries that meet the official requirements outlined in these rules. A panel of FWSP board members and staff will review accepted entries and select the winning photos. Selected photos are not official winners until high resolution, watermark-free versions are provided to FWSP. If such a version cannot be provided, an alternate winner will be selected. The decisions of FWSP and the contest judges are final.
Winners will be notified in September 2014 and invited to the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet in October 2014.
Winning photos will appear in the 2015 FWSP calendar, tentatively set to release October, 2014.
Entries must be uploaded by SUNDAY, August 31, 2014, 11:59 PM.

By participating in the contest, you hereby grant FWSP unlimited, non-exclusive, irrevocable permission to publish and reproduce your image in media including but not limited to the, website, and promotional materials into perpetuity. FWSP reserves the right to exclude any photo from the contest. (Link to Entry Form)
 Direct any questions about the Photo Contest to:

Patricia Loosen
Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Coordinator

Make your HERO Award Nomination NOW!

 HERO awards are given out to recognize individuals and Friends groups who have been instrumental in contributing time and energy at a state park, forest, or trail. 
The DNR Land manager award recognizes an outstanding park, forest or trail manager who has done a great job with the DNR property that they manage.  The Outstanding Friends Group award recognizes a group that has accomplished great things this year.  The Outstanding Individual Friend recognizes a person who has been dedicated to volunteering their time and energy in support of a park, forest or trail during this year.
It’s easy to make your nomination. Just select which category or categories you wish to make a nomination, then write three or four sentences telling your reasons and click submit. That’s all! Anyone can make a nomination for a HERO Award. (Make your nomination NOW!)
The three award categories are:
  • Outstanding DNR Land Manager
  • Outstanding Friends Group
  • Outstanding Individual Friends Member
Nominations are open though September 2, 2014 (after Labor Day).
We would like to hear from YOU with a nomination in any of the categories for the 2014 HERO Awards! These awards will be presented at the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Annual meeting and Awards Banquet in October.
The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks continues to work to promote, protect, preserve, restore, and enhance the State Park System over the last decade in order to protect state parks and their resources for future generations.

The 2014 GOLD SEAL Award Contest

The 2014 GOLD SEAL Award contest is sponsored by the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks, and they 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 in October 2014.

The statewide Friends of Wisconsin State Parks organization runs the GOLD SEAL Award program each year to highlight Wisconsin's parks, trails, and forests.
The Contest runs from July 21, 2014 through September 2, 2014.

This year, the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks have named the following categories:
  1. Best place to hike with children
  2. Best concessions at a park
  3. Best self-guided nature trail
  4. Best place to see fireflies while camping
  5. Best view from a park/trail bench
  6. Best family friendly bike trail
  7. Best place to see a variety of birds
  8. Best wedding venue
  9. Best place to kayak/canoe
  10. Best place for quiet recreating
    *If a property has won an award in the category in the past, it will not be considered eligible to win again.
    Click here to go to Gold Seal 2014 Nomination form

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Patty Loosen – Friends of Wisconsin State Parks coordinator patricia.loosen@wisconsin.gov (608) 264-8994

    Willow River State Park*

    p1Willow River State Park will leave an impression on you. It may leave you with a sense of awe and wonder when you experience its beauty. The primary attraction is Willow River Falls. However, you will miss so much if you only go to the falls. Dive deeper into the park. There are great hiking trails and a lake that offers an abundance of recreational opportunities. There are several campgrounds in the park. I can assure you they are all s’mores friendly.
    Willow River Falls is special, though. I have seen it in varying stages based on water level. At lower levels, it is a great place to swim and cool off on a hot summer day. You can rub noses with it at this level. A word of caution, if I may, is to offer you the advice of being mindful with how close you get to the falls. I got so close once that there was nothing but moving water in front of my eyes. It was moving so fast and being the only I could see began to make me dizzy. There was one part where you could walk through the waterfall and onto a small ledge behind the waterfall. You can go around the side of the waterfall and onto this ledge too.
    On my next visit, the water was much higher and moving faster. It would have been nigh impossible to stand where I had previously stood. On the prior occasion, I had swimming company. On the latter occasion, no one would swim including I. The water would have crushed anyone who dared to trespass on its might falls. Hiking down from the road parking lot is very steep. Pack light because the uphill climb is a good workout. The path from the campground is much more level and easier. Therefore, you should camp there and walk to the falls.Location
    With nearly 3,000 acres of prairie, forests, and panoramic river scenery,Willow River State Park offers year-round recreation opportunities in western Wisconsin. The park is about five miles northeast of Hudson, and has a campground, a boat launch and a 400-foot beach and picnic area centered on 172-acre Little Falls Lake.
    Friends of Willow River State Park
    ***** 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