The Friends of Interstate Park*

*This is another series of articles introducing The Friends.  Author: Julie Fox: julieann.fox@wisconsin.gov
Web site: www.friendsofinterstatepark.org
Facebook:  Friends of WI Interstate State Park
Friends of Interstate Organization
IMG_2075In the early 1980's, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources took steps to extend the interpretive program within the Wisconsin State Park System by establishing cooperating associations in the more heavily visited parks.  Interstate Park was selected as a pilot program for the entire state.  In 1983 a Citizens Participation Committee was formed.  In 1984 a general membership meeting took place and the Interstate Interpretive Association was established.  The organization was later renamed the Friends of Interstate Park.
There are about 100 members of the Friends of Interstate – about 85% of the members are from the surrounding area. Generally, about 10-15% of the total membership actively participate and organize the park activities.
Interstate Friends Outreach
The Friends have published informational material and co-sponsored special events, guest speakers, workshops and field trips.  They have supported the park and the interpretive program with purchases including AV equipment, presentation materials, office furniture, computer hardware and software, cameras, pelt and skull collections, reference materials, canoe and paddles, kitchen cabinets and appliances, a weather station, storage shed and a wood shed.  The Friends have received matching grants to remodel the Ice Age Center gift shop area and Beach House Nature Center, to build bulletin board kiosks, the Ice Age Center deck, and the Skyline Shelter.  They have also provided the basis for a volunteer effort aimed at helping the interpretive program in the park.
Friends Activities
Annual Spring Gathering of Friends and Autumn Program and Silent Auction.  Annual co-sponsorship of Candlelight Night at the Park.  Past events included annual Halloween events and Open House Day events.  All have been successful.
The annual Spring Gathering of Friends is an event to introduce people to the Friends organization and activities.  Co-sponsorship of the Candlelight Night event is another opportunity.  An ad, coupon and membership form in the park newspaper is aimed at park visitors.  Information about the Friends website and Facebook page is posted throughout the park and added to media releases about upcoming programs and events.  Information about the Friends group is posted at sales locations including the gift shop and wood sheds.
Our Park
LocationDark water forging through steep-walled bluffs...deep valleys rising to tree-covered heights...serene forests, lush meadows, teeming wetlands.  You've visited Wisconsin's Interstate Park.  You've enjoyed and appreciated all that Wisconsin's oldest state park has to offer.  You've hiked its scenic trails, climbed its massive boulders, peered into a mysterious pothole.  You've navigated the wild and scenic St. Croix River by boat or canoe.  You've explored its shoreline and camped near its banks.  You've known the serenity, thrills, wonder and deep satisfaction that experiencing this unique state park affords.  Now we invite you to become a friend of Interstate Park in a new way...