June Silent Alarm – recreational organizations that make it happen *

Volunteers Jeff Welsch and Linda Adams work on a Recreational Trails Program rehabilitation project at the Greenbush Ski Trails in the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

Do you ever wonder how your favorite trail gets maintained? You know, who cuts the brush, grooms the ski trail or takes down fallen trees? Who does those educational programs that introduce kids to natural resources? State DNRs are increasingly relying on friends groups to make it happen.


The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks (FWSP) is one of several statewide organizations that represent parks and trails. These local friends groups provide thousands of volunteer hours and deliver millions of dollars to support the mission and activities of state lands. FWSP is a lean organization driven by volunteers with only one employee, Executive Director, Patty Loosen.

“The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks have been working for 22 years to preserve, protect and promote the beautiful Wisconsin state park system properties, and to support the 70-plus local friends’ chapters through grants, workshops, and resources,” Loosen told Silent Sports. “I am always amazed by the dedication, volunteer time and hard work that all of the friends members deliver. The annual volunteer hours they provide total more than 30 full-time equivalent positions. Now that’s a lot!”

The loss of tax revenue for Wisconsin state parks has opened the door to more citizen involvement. FWSP recognizes that parks and trails have a long-term heritage of connecting youth and families to Wisconsin’s natural resources.

“State parks and trails are the conduit to our state’s great natural resources,” Loosen remarked.

You can support Wisconsin parks by becoming a FWSP member, donation, or buying your park sticker, or other items through their online store (fwsponlineshopping.blogspot.com/2015/11/store-2.html).
Reprint with permission https://www.silentsports.net/ See entire article here

2018 FWSP Incentive Grant Awards - $25,000 in grant awards

The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks announced the 2018 Incentive Grant awards. Grants are awarded for up to 50% of project, position, or activity costs. The other 50% of project costs are provided by the project sponsor (Friends group). Up to 50% of the sponsor’s share of project costs may be non-cash donations such as materials, equipment use, services or labor.
Friends groups for naturalists and eligible interpretive programs, including but not limited to interpretive equipment, LTE Naturalists, nature education for children, exhibits, interpretive signage and other interpretive needs.
1. Wyalusing State Park
2. Blue Mound State Park
3. Willow River & Kinnickinnic State Parks
4. Devils Lake State Park
5. Hartman Creek State Park
6. Navarino Nature Center
7. Council Grounds State Park
8. Merrick TURTLES
9. Heritage Hill Foundation
10. Lake Wissota State Park
11. Gov. Dodge State Park
12. High Cliff State Park
13. Whitefish Dunes State Park
14. Potawatomi State Park
15. Lakeshore State Park
16. Mirror Lake State Park
17. Horicon Marsh
18. Copper Falls State Park
19. Lapham Peak State Forest
20. Kettle Mor. Nat. Hist. Assn.
21. Perrot State Park
22. Peninsula State Park
23. Brillion Nature Center
24. Pike Lake State Forest
25. Buckhorn State Park
26. Roche A Cri State Park
27. Sandhill SNA
28. Bong Naturalist Assn.
29. Fox River State Trail
30. Rib Mountain State Park
31. Red Cedar State Trail
32. Cadiz Springs SRA
33. Interstate State Park
34. Aztalan State Park

Photo Contest for Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Calendar 2019

Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Photo 2018 Photo Contest

The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks (FWSP) invites all interested individuals to enter their favorite state park, forest, trail or recreation area photo in our annual photography competition. Winners will be featured in the 2019 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Calendar, released in the Fall of 2018.
There are so many opportunities to enjoy the Wisconsin state parks during all four seasons. We are looking for photo entries that include beautiful scenery along with people recreating and enjoying activities like hiking, picnicking, cross-country skiing, kayaking/canoeing, horseback riding, biking and exploring. (View Contest Rules)
This is the ninth year the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks has sponsored the photography competition.
  • 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.
  • Employees of the DNR and board members of the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks and their immediate family members are not eligible to win.
  • 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 person.
A panel of Friends of Wisconsin State Parks board members and staff will review accepted entries and select the winning photos. Photo awards will be presented at the FWSP Annual Awards banquet to be announced later
Entries must be uploaded by Friday August 31, 2018, midnight
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 in perpetuity.perpetuity reserves the right to exclude any photo from the contest.

Please click here to enter your photo(s)

Patricia Loosen
Executive Director Friends of Wisconsin State Parks

2018 Gold Seal Award Contest

Friends of Wisconsin State Parks
Gold Seal Awards

Ends  Friday, September 7, 2018

The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks 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, trail, or recreation area in the categories below.
The winning parks, forests, trails, or recreational areas will be honored with a Gold Seal Award at the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Awards Banquet on Saturday, November 10, 2018. The statewide Friends of Wisconsin State Parks organization runs the Gold Seal Award program each year to highlight Wisconsin’s parks, trails, and forests.
Contest ends Friday, September 7, 2018.

Click here to make nomination(s)

The 2018 categories are:
  • Best state park system property for eagle watching
  • Best state park system property for single – track mountain biking
  • Best state park waterfall
  • Best state park system property for stand- up paddle boarding
  • Best state park system property for school trips & presentations
  • Best state park system beach
  • Best dog-friendly state park system property
  • Best rock formations at a state park system property
  • Best state park system group camping area
  • Best rails-to-trails trail in the state park system
Patty Loosen
Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Coordinator
608) 294-0810


With warmer temperatures and the arrival of spring, folks are heading out to our State Parks, Trails, and Forests in full force. And the timing couldn’t be better to announce our new health and wellness initiative OutWiGo. As a valued partner of State Parks and an outdoor recreation enthusiast, we hope you’ll consider joining us for our kick-off event onMay 17th at Mirror Lake State Park at the Amphitheater!

Do you know OutWiGo?

OutWiGo (pronounced, “Out – We – Go”) encourages Wisconsin residents and visitors, to support their mind, body, and community wellness by getting out and active in state parks. At our kick-off event, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about this initiative, join our group hike or kayak and most importantly, feel good in the great outdoors!

Can’t make it to Mirror Lake? No problem!

There’s always something fun happening at the parks! Check out our Parks events page, here to see what’s happening in your neck of the woods.

To RSVP to the kick-off or ask questions, please email Jane at jane.simkins@wisconsin.gov.

Until then, we’ll see you on the 17th!

Ben Bergey, Wisconsin State Park System Director