2016 Hero Awards

Each year, the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks  recognize a DNR Land manager, a local Friends group and an Individual Friends member who has shown outstanding dedication to support state parks, forests, and trails.

Outstanding Individual Friends Member:  Larry Novak

Friends of Mirror Lake State Park Larry Novak has been a dedicated member of Friends of Mirror Lake State Park for many
Larry gives so much of himself to Mirror Lake State Park and to the Friends group. He first became a volunteer for the park in 2008. Larry's first official job that he did for the park...he took it upon himself to unwind the telephone cords at the front counter. He said that it was one of the little things like that that he could do to help, so we had more time to do the important stuff.
He spends many hours each week doing maintenance around the Park, with painting being his specialty. He has done painting inside and out, sign making, building and rebuilding whatever is needed, and almost on a daily basis. This is in addition to volunteering with the Friends of Mirror Lake S.P. where he is a board member. Numerous times Larry has filled and set torches used for our 3 seasonal hikes, in all types ofweather. He single handedly creates fire starters by gathering the wax candles, shredded paper, egg cartons and melting it all down — which has given the Friends group thousands of dollars over the past years. He is very active in the firewood project process — which has generated thousands of dollars that goes back into Mirror Lake S.P. He helped the Friends of Mlirror Lake create the new Amphitheater by giving many hours ofvolunteer work. ln 2015 alone, Larry donated 717 hours to the Friends of Mirror Lake and the park. Larry received a lot of votes in support of this award! Congratulations Larry!

Outstanding Individual Friends Member: Doris Kultgen

(Color Photo Unavailable) Doris has devoted much time and effort to seek out and schedule interpretive programs and speakers for the Kohler-Andrae State Park Sanderling Nature Center over the past 12 years at least. During that time Kohler-Andrae has had one of the best intepretive programs schedule and attendance of all parks statewide even exceeding many parks and forests that have a full time naturalist. Doris not only schedules programs but e-mails or calls speakers in advance the programs to make sure they remember to show up. Doris does all this in addition to her regular LTE employment as a visitor services clerk.
She continues to work on this for the Friends of Kohler-Andrae on her free time at home. Without the efforts of Doris, the Friends of Kohler-Andrae would not have the excellent interpretive program it has now and park visitors and campers would be not benefit from her efforts. As the former park superintendent at Kohler-Andrae I have had the opportunity to work with Doris and have observed her dedication to the state park system and to the Friends of Kohler-Andrae's efforts in offering high quality interpretive programs and hikes for the public.
Doris has been the backbone of the interpretive programs as Kohler Andrae State Park for so long that we forget how much work it is to schedule all these programs. She works continually to fill every week-end and many week day/nights as well. Our programs are well attended and very much appreciated. Congratulations on this award Doris!

Outstanding DNR Land Manager: Kurt Dreger

DSC_0188Natural Resource Property Supervisor for the Interstate State Park Team
Kurt Dreger is currently the Natural Resource Property Supervisor  for the Interstate State Park Team including Straight Lake State Park. He graduated in 1981 from UW-SP with a degree in Resource Enforcement Ranger at Yellowstone Lake State Park and Interstate State Park until taking his current position in 2007.  Kurt lives in St. Croix Falls with his wife Terri and their two children Samuel and Matthew. Kurt's hobbies outside ofwork include fishing, camping, gardening, and skiing. Kurt has been a great asset to the Wisconsin State Parks system and has been willing to take on additional duties as needed.
Congratulations Kurt! 

Outstanding Friends Group: Friends of Rib Mountain State Park

DSC_0178The Friends of Rib Mountain State Park, lnc. is a group of volunteers organized for the charitable and educational purpose of assisting the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to improve, presen/e and promote Rib Mountain State Park. The Friends of Rib Mountain State Park have provided funding, coordination and manpower for many improvements, programs and additions to the Park, Key projects include: development, construction and mapping of hiking trails, construction of an amphitheater, a 15 year "Concert in the Clouds" summer series, construction of a campground shower, acquisition of a 38 acre addition to the Park, hiring of summer naturalists for the Park, installation of lighting in parking areas, coordination of winter snowshoe hikes, and operation of the Park concession stand.
The most recent Friends group project —— and most ambitious project to date, has been the completion of an enclosed Shelter for the park. The Friends group spent over
4 years developing and fundraising for this $750,000 project. Theyjust held the ribbon cutting two weeks ago and the shelter is now available for rental starting in the Spring
of 2017. Congratulations on all of these accomplishments and this HERO award!