|Poetrees by Douglas Florian|
New Glarus Woods State Park is a 435-acre state park offering camping, hiking, picnicking and snowshoeing. The park also offers direct access to The Sugar River State Trail, a 24-mile linear trail surfaced with compressed limestone screenings, for bicycling, hiking, snowmobiling and, in some areas, hunting.
New Glarus Woods was established as a state park in 1934, but the land has been used and changed by nature and people over the centuries.
What is now New Glarus Woods was the edge of a dense forest, said to be as large as the famed Black Forest in Germany. Tales passed down through generations recall the site as the "loneliest and wildest" part of the entire route from Mineral Point to Milwaukee, "where fierce timber wolves would pursue both driver and oxen." During the Black Hawk War, troops were sent after Chief Black Hawk and his warriors and used the lead trail. Among those troops were Jefferson Davis, Zachary Taylor and William Hamilton. Today the trail is known as County Trunk NN.
Swiss colonists traveled to their new settlement of New Glarus over this route during the 1840s. The 108 colonists from the Canton of Glarus, Switzerland established the unique cultural atmosphere that remains in New Glarus today. Swiss settlers were given plots in what would become New Glarus Woods Park in which to cut lumber.
The opening that is now the group campground was originally logged to build a sawmill that today houses the administrative office.
Swiss habits, unique foods, cultural activities, and architecture continue to flavor the village since the Swiss settlement. Annually, the traditional bonds with Switzerland are renewed during the numerous weekend festivals, the largest being the "Willhelm Tell Festival." The Swiss Village Museum is a favorite attraction, and the Swiss character is seen in the village business district, where decorated businesses offer flowered balconies, painted murals, and traditional architecture and adornment.
The Read to Lead book for the fifth week in April is Poetrees by Douglas Florian.
One book reviewer wrote: "This collection contains 18 poems -- five are about tree parts (seeds, roots, tree rings, bark, leaves), while the others describe 13 different species (baobab, coconut palm, oak, monkey puzzle tree, banyan, paper birch, dragon tree, giant sequoia, scribbly gum, bristlecone pine, Japanese cedar, weeping willow, and yew). Quite an eclectic treet featuring Florian's signature wordplay and uncanny ability to serve up fascinating facts with verve and humor. I daresay he's captured the very essence of these trees -- their personalities, in some cases, from his vantage point of child-like, sophisticated pooh-bah, employing to brilliant effect his reverent irreverence.Read To Lead