Touring 64 Wisconsin State Parks*

by Jonathan Ringdahl
The Friends of Wisconsin Sate Parks is proud to introduce  guest author, Jonathan Ringdahl. Jonathan has recently finished his goal of visiting 64 Wisconsin State Parks in 2012. Presently living in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, he enjoys spending time with his family, friends, and dog. Ringdahl graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology. He works with autistic kids by connecting them with nature.

Jonathan Ringdahl at Rib Mountain State Park
My name is Jonathan Ringdahl. Last year, 2012, I set out to do something special. I visited all 64 of our state parks, forests, and recreation areas. Little did I know this adventure would change my life.

Today, my home is LaCrosse, Wisconsin.  As I look back at my youth, I can still remember climbing Trempealeau Mountain in Perrot State Park and dreaming about traveling on the Mississippi River. While visiting Wyalusing State Park, one of my favorite parks, I gazed at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers wondering what early explorers thought. I remember sitting high atop Rib mountain State Park and gazing through the haze of an early morning rain.

As I grew, so did my circle of favorite parks.  Each park made me love our state park system even more.

No year can match last year in terms of making me realize what a gem our state park system is. From the north to the south, the east to the west, from magnificent lakeshores to towering bluffs, and cascading waterfalls to frozen waterfalls our system truly has something that will astound anyone no matter the season. With so many parks spread across the state, adventures are just around the corner waiting for those who seek them out.

Pictured Rock Cave at Wyalusing State Park.   
No matter what your outdoor interests: hiking biking, camping, fishing, bird watching, photography, snowshoeing, skiing, canoeing, kayaking, exploring caves, or swimming; these can all be fulfilled in our wonderful state parks at different times of the year.

What is great about our parks is how they change with the seasons. I enjoy visiting them during all seasons because you experience something different each time. It is as if visiting a new park each time.

My future blogs will be about the parks I visited. I will be providing information on each of the parks as well as my favorite parts of each park. Be sure to check back often to see information and pictures of each park!