Mirror Lake State Park Celebrates 50 Years!

screenshot-mail.google.com 2016-04-26 11-55-402016 will see the 50th anniversary of the opening of Mirror Lake State Park to the public. While the initial legislation establishing the park was passed five years prior, August 19, 1966 saw the first official visitors to the park. At that time a few trails, some campsites, and beach access to the lake were available for visitors. From those simple beginnings the park has grown to include almost 2200 acres of land holding 150 campsites, 19 miles of trail, a handicapped accessible cabin, beautiful overlooks, a boat landing, world class cross country ski trails, and public access to over 70% of the shore line of Mirror Lake.

Mirror Lake State Park has seen steady growth in visitation, and many families returning year after year to experience all this beautiful place has to offer. We hope to see many future generations continue to build memories as we move into the second half of a century of outdoor recreation. There have been many private land owners, volunteers, visitors, and staff that have come before this current generation that made sacrifices of time, money, property, and certainly no small amount of blood, sweat, and tears, to leave us with the beautiful place we call Mirror Lake.

Make plans to join the Friends of Mirror Lake State Park and Department of Natural Resources staff as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the park’s opening on Saturday August 13, 2016 with a variety of activities to be held at the park amphitheater. Please contact the park office for more information and a list of activities.

A Note from FWSP President

Spring is here and activities at the state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas are getting started.  Friends of Wisconsin State Parks are looking forward to celebrating our 20th year as the umbrella organization for our 80+ Local Friends Groups.  If you, as a local Friends Group or as an individual member, have ideas on additional ways that FWSP can support your group, please let us know.

FWSP has the Tree and Flower grants and also Incentive matching grants available for your local Friends Group as financial help  for your local projects.  These projects along with many other Friends projects and programs help to enhance the visitors experiences and make them more enjoyable at the state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas.  If you can work it into your plan, invite park users to become involved and join in the experience of having pride and ownership in these great state park properties.  FWSP wants to thank all of the Local Friends volunteers and members for your great support.

As a follow up to the Informational Summits FWSP sponsored the last 2 years, we are planning an all day Summit/ Workshop in November for all of the Friends Groups - both local groups and our statewide members.  If youhave ideas on a special topic or a special presenter, please let us know. 

As you are planning your 2016 vacations please include the pristine Wisconsin State Park System as a destination or side trip.  You are invited to go to FWSP.ORG and get information about the Gold Seal winning properties to help you plan a trip to one of them and to see the highlightsof these special parks, trails and recreation areas.   As budget constraints are hitting the state park properties, they need our support more than ever.  When you are talking with friends and local political figures, please make one of the topics the state parks system and the huge financial impact they have on the Wisconsin economy.

Happy trails!

Bill Zager, Pres. FWSP

Great Wisconsin Birdathon

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Dear FWSP Friends,

Between now and June 15, we invite and encourage your friends group to participate in the Great Wisconsin Birdathon. There are two ways to get involved: 

  • Raise money for your own bird conservation activities by forming a team, creating a team page, collecting pledges (we make this easy) and spending part of a day birding. We do the rest. The Madison Audubon Society just registered a team—Feel the Berd—with a goal of raising $3,000. MAS and other organizations raise $2,500+ each annually through the Great Wisconsin Birdathon. You can, too!  Note that funds you raise will be split 50/50 between your organization and the Bird Protection Fund, which supports nine statewide priority projects.
  • Support statewide bird conservation initiatives by pledging or donating to one of the eight “signature teams” we have set up around the state—birding hotshots at regional birding hotspots. Team captains Ryan Brady, Tom Prestby, Carl Schwartz, Sumner Matteson, Tom Schultz, Bill Volkert, Bill Hogseth and Randy Hoffman, plus 16 other teammates, are chomping at their “bins” to out-bird each other. All signature team proceeds go to the Bird Protection Fund.

The $70,000+ raised by this event will be strategically targeted by the seven partne organizations listed below.


Go to WIBirdathon.org to create team (it’s not too late!) or to support an existing team.

Thank you!!

The Great Wisconsin Birdathon Team

Barb Barzen, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Ryan Brady, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources- Wildlife Management

Karen Etter Hale, Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative and Wisconsin Audubon Council

Mary Korkor, Wisconsin Society for Ornithology

Sumner Matteson, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – Natural Heritage Conservation

Diane Packett, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Jim Shurts, active bird conservation volunteer

Work Play Earth Day - 2016

2016 WPED Poster-page-001Celebrate Earth Day while helping out and enjoying Wisconsin state park, forest, trail and wildlife properties during the seventh annual Work*Play*Earth Day. Volunteer events are sponsored by the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks and Department of Natural Resources properties. The events will be held April 16, 22, 23,30, and May 7 .  (Click on image for PDF poster)
Volunteers can join DNR staff, local friends group members, and people from nearby communities to help repair and enhance park, forest and trail properties. Activities include planting trees and shrubs, installing benches, removing invasive plants, painting picnic tables and other structures, raking and cleaning up leaves and picking up litter. Refreshments will be provided and Friends of Wisconsin State Parks will also provide appreciation gifts for volunteers.
"When the work is done, volunteers join staff in hiking or biking park trails, visiting nature centers or interpretive displays, or enjoying any of the recreational opportunities available at the different properties," said Patty Loosen, friends coordinator for the state parks program.
Loosen says during the 2015 Work Play Earth Day, more than 975 volunteers donated more than 3.000 hours cleaning up and maintaining parks and trails, planting more than 100 trees, doing invasive species work and building bird houses, planting native plants and repairing picnic tables.
Volunteers should check with the park, forest, trail or recreation area where they would like to participate for event start times and details. Volunteers should wear work boots or athletic shoes, long pants and bring their own work gloves. Come and be part of the 2016 Work*Play*Earth Day events at these Wisconsin state properties!
To find out more about the parks listed below, search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for "find a park."
Saturday – April 16, 2016
  • Harrington Beach State Park – Belgium
  • Kettle Moraine State Forest –
  • Northern Unit – Campbellsport
  • Mead/McMillan State Wildlife Area – Milladore
Friday– April 22, 2016
  • Mirror Lake State Park – Baraboo
Saturday – April 23, 2016
  • Big Foot Beach State Park – Lake Geneva
  • Buckhorn State Park – Necedah
  • Governor Nelson State Park – Waunakee
  • Hank Aaron State Trail – Milwaukee
  • High Cliff State Park – Sherwood
  • Kettle Moraine State Forest –
  • Southern Unit – Eagle
  • Kohler-Andrae State Park – Sheboygan
  • Lakeshore State Park – Milwaukee
  • Lapham Peak State Forest – Delafield
  • Newport State Park – Ellison Bay
  • Perrot State Park – Trempealeau
  • Pike Lake State Forest – Hartford
Saturday – April 30
  • Devil’s Lake State Park – Baraboo
  • Hartman Creek State Park – Waupaca
  • Merrick State Park – Fountain City
  • Potawatomi State Park – Sturgeon Bay
  • Stower 7 Lakes State Trail – Amery
  • Whitefish Dunes State Park – Sturgeon Bay
Saturday – May 7
  • Amnicon Falls State Park – South Range
  • Havenwoods State Forest – Milwaukee
  • Richard Bong State Recreation Area – Kansasville
  • Roche-A-Cri State Park - Friendship