MADISON - Looking for the best state park venue for holding a wedding? The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks and supporters recommend Heritage Hill Historical Park, home to Green Bay's oldest standing church.The East Side Moravian Church was disassembled from its original location in downtown Green Bay and reassembled at Heritage Hill in 1982.
The statewide Friends of Wisconsin State Parks organization runs the Gold Seal Award program each year to highlight Wisconsin's parks, trails, and forests. The award winners were presented October 11 at the annual Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Awards Banquet and annual meeting at the Monona Terrace and Convention Center in Madison.
Other award winners were
- Best concessions at a park - Peninsula State Park
- Best place to kayak/canoe - Mirror Lake State Park
- Best place for quiet recreating - Newport State Park
- Best self - guided nature trail - Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit
- Best place to hike with children - Kettle Moraine State Forest - Lapham Peak
- Best family friendly bike trail - Elroy Sparta State Trail
- Best place to see a variety of birds - Richard Bong State Recreation Area
- Best view from park/trail bench - Wyalusing State Park
- Best place to see fireflies while camping - Governor Thompson State Park
The Hero Award for the Outstanding Friends Group went to the Heritage Hill Foundation (exit DNR), which has partnered with the Department of Natural Resources for 39 years ago to establish Heritage Hill State Historical Park. The Foundation has provided more than $11 million in operating support and established $5 million in operation and maintenance endowments to secure the future of Heritage Hill.
Their work has assisted in assuring not only the ongoing operation of the park, but enabling, building acquisition and the significant preservation work on the various structures at Heritage Hill, including the major preservation of the Cotton House and the Education Center addition to the Visitor Center.
This year will mark the successful completion of a $2.1 million capital campaign for the Fort Howard Guard House restoration and Fort Howard area preservation projects. The campaign will provide project funding as well as endowment development and operational funding.
The Hero Award for the outstanding DNR land manager was presented to Bob Ramsey, currently park manager forWildcat Mountain and Mill Bluff state parks and the La Crosse, Elroy/Sparta and Four Hundred state trails.
Ramsey joined the DNR in 1997 and held a number of positions at increasing levels of responsibility in visitor services, maintenance, and law enforcement as a park ranger. He previously worked at Devils Lake, Mirror Lake, Governor Nelson and Lake Kegonsa state parks.
Ramsey was awarded for his many goals as park manager, including; providing excellent customers service, safety for park visitors, continuous maintenance of park land and facilities, and promoting a positive work environment.
The Hero Award for Outstanding Individual Friends Member was presented to Kris Maki, who has been on theFriends of Lapham Peak (exit DNR) board of directors since its inception in 1989. Maki has been the director for all 26 Colorama fall Run/Walk events -- a large annual fund raiser for Friends of Lapham Peak -- and also directed the Wednesday night Ski League winter ski races for 14 years along with the Lapham Loppet winter ski race which is held in January every year.
The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks President's Award was presented to Tracey Schwalbe for all of her work on the organization's board since 2006, including time served as president in 2011 and 2012. She was instrumental in the organization's creating the HERO and Gold Seal awards.
The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks also presented its first Community Partner Award to the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine for its partnership over the last two years creating and issuing the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks calendar [PDF] and also featuring many parks articles in the magazine as well as featuring Friends of Wisconsin State Parks in one of the issues in 2013.
For more information on the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks, visit their website at friendswiparks.blogspot.com(exit DNR).
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Patty Loosen, state friends coordinator, 608-264-8994