Stower Seven Lakes Trail

Elroy-Sparta Trail

Chippewa River State Trail

Gandy Dancer Trail

Focus on Friends–Big Foot Beach State Park

Events   The Friends of Big Foot Beach State ParkThe Big Foot Beach Friends is a  501(c)3 non-profit group working to promote the public use of the park, raise funds to maintain and improve the park, and conduct volunteer work within the park. The Friends of Big Foot Beach State Park gathers on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at the maintenance building, located in the back of the park.
The Friends of Big Foot Beach State Park was founded in the fall of 2005 by local citizens who saw an opportunity to be stewards of a local natural treasure.  The Friends help the park through fundraising efforts, grants, and volunteer work days.
The third Saturday of every month from 9am-11am through September are Volunteer Work Days at the park. The Friends help to keep the park clean, and continue efforts to remove invasive species. 
Planning is also underway for two major fund raising events - Big Foot Trail Run and the Big Foot Triathlon. the events are held on the last two weekend days of June. Information is found at .
Big Foot Beach State Park is a 271-acre park on the shore of Geneva Lake.  it features  wooded campsites, a sand beach, 6.5 miles of hiking trails and picnic areas. No alcoholic beverages are allowed anywhere in the park. The park entrance is at 1550 S. Lake Shore Drive, one mile south of the city of Lake Geneva.
The web site: lists the Friends or Big Foot Beach events and work days. The Friends of Big Foot Beach also have a Facebook page: .

Big Foot Beach State Park Friends web page and Facebook page
Wisconsin DNR

Focus on Friends – Badge State Trail

Friends of Badger State Trail
The Friends of the Badger Trail is a non-profit corporation dedicated to supporting the Badger Trail  located in southern Wisconsin.  The volunteer members assure that trail visitors travel on the best maintained and operated trail possible. The Friends also provide education and appreciation of local nature, history and culture of the surrounding area.
Throughout the summer and fall, the Friends sponsor rider activities for it’s members as well as trail visitors.  The 17.5 mile ride featuring the Stewart Tunnel is an annual favorite. Riders are advised to bring a light because it is dark inside the tunnel.  The ride also features a scavenger hunt which is bound to excite all riders.  The July event is an 80 mile night time ride. More events are always listed on the up-to-date web site Tunnel on the Badger State Trail.
Friends group members receive a Newsletter four times a year filled with events, activities, volunteer opportunities, and special announcements. They also receive 10% off of the purchase price of all official Badger Trail logo merchandise. Members are also eligible to vote in the election of officers.  Membership runs from November 1 through October 31. The membership application is found at
Bill Hauda, President of the Badge Trail Friend. He is the founder of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, chair of the Funding Committee of the Governor's Non-motorized Recreational and Transportation Trails Council, creator of GRABAAWR (GReat Annual Bicycle Adventure Along the Wisconsin River), longtime bicycle tour director and an avid rider, defender and promoter of Wisconsin's best-in-the-nation system of state trails, of which Badger is the among the most recent.
Friends of Badger State TrailOn May 12, 2015 the Badger Trail Friends Group dedicated the Monroe trailhead building.  2015 also celebrates the 15th anniversary of the creation of Badger Trail. The city of Fitchburg, where Badger intersects with four other major trails and paths, will be erecting directional signs at the confluence. Fitchburg also will be erecting additional informational historical markers along the trail, which once saw four trains a day steaming up and down the corridor carrying passengers, cattle, farm produce and goods. One marker denoting the Illinois Central depot location at what was once the “city center” of Fitchburg is already up.
The Badger State Trail travels 40 miles between Madison and the Wisconsin-Illinois border while traversing farmlands, woods, rolling hills, scenic meadows, remnant prairies, ravines, glacial topography and several small communities. Highlighting the trail is the 1,200-foot long Stewart Tunnel. The tunnel is unique because it is built on a curve and visitors cannot see the other end when first entering the tunnel. Flashlights and jackets are recommended as the tunnel is dark and cool and water from springs above can trickle onto the trail. Bikers should walk bikes through the tunnel.
The Badger Trail connects to the Capital City, Military Ridge and Sugar River state trails and the Madison bikeway system. In Madison, the Badger State Trail corridor continues into the city along the Southwest Path. At the Illinois border, the Badger State Trail connects to the Jane Addams Trail which continues to Freeport, Illinois.
The fairly level grade and smooth limestone surface make this trail suitable for bicyclists, walkers and joggers. The six-mile section between Madison and Purcell Road is surfaced with asphalt and is suitable for in-line skating. Each bicyclist or skater age 16 or older needs a Wisconsin state trail pass while using the trail.

Peninsula State Park observation tower to close immediately due to safety concerns

Door County Tower Closed to Public UseFISH CREEK, Wis. - The observation tower located in Peninsula State Park, known as Eagle Tower, will be closed immediately because of public safety concerns related to structural deficiency issues according to Kelli Bruns, park superintendent.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources decided to close the tower to the public after receiving an inspection report on May 20, 2015 from a company hired to conduct a detailed inspection of the structure earlier this spring. The report recommended the tower be closed to all public use because of the poor structural condition of wooden beams supporting three observation platforms and a staircase as a result of decay. The inspection involved removing and analyzing wooden cores from the tower support beams.
Eagle Tower was originally built as a forest fire observation platform in 1914 using logs cut in the park and without the use of machinery. In the 1930s, the tower was rebuilt by the Civilian Conservation Corps. In the late 1970s and again in the mid-90s, portions of the structure were refurbished. The 75-foot tall tower offers extraordinary views of Green Bay and even the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It stands 225 feet above the water.
The 3,776-acre Peninsula State Park is located in the Door County Peninsula between the villages of Fish Creek and Ephraim. Considered Wisconsin's most complete park, Peninsula offers 468 campsites, three group camps, a summer theater, an 18-hole golf course, sand beach, bike trails, a lighthouse and 8 miles of Door County shoreline. For more information about the park, search the Department of Natural Resources website,, for keyword "Peninsula."
Further study of the inspection report will determine the future of the structure.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Northeast Wisconsin

2984 Shawano Avenue, Green Bay WI 54313
Phone:  920-662-5122    TDD:  711
DATE:   May 20, 2015
CONTACT: Kelli Bruns, Peninsula State Park superintendent, 920 868-3258
SUBJECT: Peninsula State Park observation tower to close immediately due to safety concerns

State Recreational Areas Affect Your Pocket Book- Mississippi River Corridor* topic parks documents wisc_st_parks econ_report_2013_final_web.pdfWisconsin's state parks, outdoor recreation areas, forests and trails serve as important drivers of local economic vitality, according to a recent report that estimates that total spending by Wisconsin state park properties visitors is more than $1 billion a year. (1) In recent years, the park system recorded an average level of 14 million visitor-days per year. (Photo source:
The Mississippi River Corridor Region is located along the west edge of Wisconsin from its middle to the southern border, and encompasses St. Croix, Dunn, Pierce, Pepin, Buffalo, Trempealeau, La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford, and Grant Counties. This region contains roughly 6,700 square miles and 385 lakes. The Mississippi River running along the region’s western border is the primary recreational resource in the region.  Although most public lands within the region are fishery or wildlife areas, there are also a number of state parks. The Great River Road, a thoroughfare that follows the Mississippi for 250 miles, connects over 50 local parks and beaches. Urban influences also impact this region as visitors from the nearby Twin Cities metropolitan area make use of the region’s recreational resources. Suburban development associated with the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area in St. Croix and Pierce Counties continues to impact recreation supply and demand across the region.

Your Wisconsin State Budget vote May 7.

Here is link to State Park Budget info.…/Docume…/Budget%20Papers/461.pdf

Here is link to contact your legislator

The Mississippi River Corridor Region has thirteen properties in the WSPS. State Trails in this region include the Buffalo River, Chippewa River, Great River, and LaCrosse River, and Red Cedar. Hoffman Hills is the single State Recreation Area in the region. The region’s State Parks include Kinnickinnic, Merrick, Nelson Dewey, Perrot, Wildcat Mountain, Willow River, and Wyalusing River.
The Wisconsin Park System accounts for over 1,200  jobs generating over $84 million in wages that are centered among the top employment sectors of the regional economy that include state and local government, food services and drinking places, private hospitals, and wholesale trade businesses.
Wyalusing State Park
In 2010, the  Wisconsin State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan listed the yearly total visitation to Wyalusing State Park at over 207,000 visitors.  Nearly 63,000 of the visitors were from the area, and the remainder were non-local visitors.  In 2013, annual non-local expenditures was $13,530,146.   Local Expenditures was $3,253,368.  In 2013, the local economy was helped by $16,783,514.  Does Wyalusing State Park, help the local economy? You bet!

*(1)"Economic Impacts of the Wisconsin State Park System: Connections to Gateway Communities" [PDF] is available by searching the DNR website for "parks," and then clicking on the link for "Reports and more" under the "Documents & publications" tab.

Focus on Friends–Ahnapee State Trail

1  Friends of the Ahnapee State TrailThe Friends of the Ahnapee  was created exclusively for the promotion, development and maintenance of the Ahnapee State Trail. The Friends partner with Kewaunee and Door County and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in developing and maintaining the trail. Friends of the Ahnapee is a grass roots group dedicated to raise the consciousness of the local people and potential visitors to the quality aspects of the trail. This is accomplished through publications, special events, and interpretive and community programs including “hands-on” projects. They monitor trail use and condition, plan improvements, conduct events, undertake maintenance and solicit funds to support the trail. All their work is volunteer.
The Ahnapee State Trail is a 48-mile, county-operated trail winds south along the beautiful Ahnapee and Kewaunee rivers to Algoma, Casco, Luxemburg and Kewaunee, passing by a mixture of evergreen glades, farmland, prairies and wooded areas teeming with wildlife and native wildflowers.  The 8 to 10 foot wide trail has a firm surface. TrailIt is used by people who travel its length in multiple ways. In the summer, some people walk, some jog or run, some ride bicycles, and some ride horses or drive horse drawn wagons, buggies, or carts.
In the winter snowmobiles and cross-country skiers share the trail. During the winter the trail is used especially by snowmobilers – though cross-country skiing is also permitted – and interconnects with 95 miles of snowmobile trails in Kewaunee County and 275 miles of trail in Door County. A “rails to trails” conversion has removed the tracks. .  (link to maps)
One of the goals of the Friends of the Ahnapee Trail is to promote safety and courtesy among all who share the trail.
Whether through monetary donations, volunteer hours, or donations of materials, the work that has been done to build, promote, and maintain this trail has brought about many positive changes over the past years. The Friends work continues, as they work to raise funds to build a trailhead building in the village of Luxemburg. This facility will welcome trail users in every season and will become a gathering place for group activities on the trail.
The major fundraiser is the Ahnapee Summer Solstice 50. It is a 50 mile relay race on the Ahnapee Trail, and will attract runners from all over the Midwest. The run starts in Sturgeon Bay, goes through Algoma and Casco Junction to Bruemmer Park near Kewaunee, and then back to the Luxemburg Fairgrounds for the post run party.
Every year, the Friends group asks local businesses to help sponsor this event and all proceeds from the event are put directly back into the trail in the form of maintenance and improvement. For this relay there will be 9 exchange points.
The Friends of Ahnapee have an up-to-date Facebook page ( and website
The Ahnapee State Trail Friends encourages others to become members. (Link to membership) Members are notified about all events, projects and proposals pertaining to the Ahnapee State Trail, as well as volunteering opportunities.
Source: Friends of Ahnapee State trail, Wisconsin DNR