Eight Southwest Wisconsin state park, trail, and recreational area friends groups came together for the first of four Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Summits in 2014. About two dozen Friends representatives met on a Saturday afternoon at Madison – Capital Springs SRA – Lussier Family Heritage Center to discuss the challenges faced by the regional Friends groups. Also in attendance were representatives of the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks.
The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks held the first Wisconsin Friends Summit at the Annual Awards Banquet in October, 2013. Encouraged by the success of the first Summit, the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks continued with the idea of including more Friends groups in listening sessions based upon four regions of Wisconsin.- Southwest region, Southeast region, Northeast region, and Northwest region. Each Summit will meet at different dates in each of the four regions.
Friends of Wisconsin State Park's President, Roger W. Putnam III, and State Friends Coordinator, Patty Loosen opened the Summit with a report of their attendance to the national coordinating conference outside of San Francisco, CA, this past January. Along with Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Vice President Bill Zager, Friends groups from more than 20 states met to discuss and share ideas about several of the same issues that Wisconsin Friends share.
The first Wisconsin Friends Summit of 2014 was attended by Friends of Buckhorn State Park, Badger State Trail, Yellowstone State Park, Mirror Lake State Park, Wyalusing State Park, Military Ridge State Trail, Cadiz Springs State Park, and Blue Mounds State Park. Issues shared during this first summit were Friends insurance, communication among Friends members as well as Friends groups, membership growth and involvement, funding, and importance of open communication between park managers and Friends, and promoting Friends groups. Bryan Buri, Cadiz Springs State Park Friends, shared their success and challenges they faced with building a playground near the beach. Representatives from Blue Mound State Park shared their success with the recently completed shelter house.
All Summit attendees were encouraged to continue the successful dialog with one another via the online forum found at the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks web site – fwsp.org.
The next Summit for the Southeast region of Wisconsin is Saturday, April 26, 2014, 1:00- 3:30 pm, Kansasville, WI at Richard Bong SRA .
Photo courtesy Roger Putnam III