Lake Kegonsa State Park

Whitefish Dunes State Park

Hartman Creek State Park

Rib Mountain State Park

FWSP Working for You

For over 20 years, Friends of Wisconsin State Parks (FWSP) has been dedicated to preserving, protecting, promoting and enhancing Wisconsin's state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas 
Working in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources and local Friends groups, FWSP has coordinated thousands of hours of volunteer efforts, raised funds for vital state park programs and causes, and provided a public voice for our state's outdoor treasures in the legislative process. 
Each year more than 17 million people visit Wisconsin state parks. State financial support for parks has diminished and FWSP continues to work with local Friends groups to fill in the gaps, provide outdoor education and improve the state park experience for the millions of people who visit each year. 
 Rangers! law enforcement at state park system properties The DNR is moving forward with a model in which rangers are Bureau of Law Enforcement employees. FWSP is following this initiative closely and providing feedback to the Bureau of Law Enforcement and the Bureau of Parks and Recreation. F\NSP met with DNR leadership including Secretary Cole in March. F\/VSP cited concerns about safety, customer engagement, and costs. Secretary Cole, State Parks Director Ben Bergey and Chief Warden Todd Schaller assured F\/VSP that law enforcement officers will be visible, engage park visitors and that law enforcement costs will be reasonable.
 WIDNR should have the responsibility for the state trail planning. The DNR has many cooperatively planned and managed trails. The current agreements allow the planning to be the responsibility of the local cooperator and could allow for trail use to “flip” based on the local political situation. In order to ensure a statewide systematic approach to recreation opportunities, FWSP recommends that the DNR have the trail planning responsibility. 
 Knowles Nelson Stewardship funding and GPR — restoring tax dollars in the state budget for State Par s FWSP supports the Knowles/Nelson Stewardship program at the current levels — including the segregated monies for Friends Group Projects. FWSP also supports restoring General Purpose Revenue (GPR) for State Parks and F\NSP is following and advocating for both of these in the next state budget.

Friends of Peninsula State Park Are Helping Make Improvements

The Friends of Peninsula State Park began working with park staff on plans for expanding the 80-year-old Nature Center almost six years ago. The proposed design will add indoor restrooms, a meeting room for larger groups, and functional storage and office space. The existing structure will also be refreshed with new carpet, windows, siding, and roofing. The project will double the available space and enable the park naturalists and volunteers to expand the excellent programs they offer each year.
 Generous donors have already contributed $340,000 of the $360,000 estimated cost, including grants from the Raibrook Foundation and the Wisconsin Public Service Foundation along with gifts from many individuals and local businesses. The Friends are in the process of raising the final $20,000 that is needed to start construction this fall.
If everything goes as planned, the expanded Nature Center will be open for visitors by late spring or early summer 2020.
 In addition to the Nature Center project, the Friends launched a new tribute program last fall as part of the effort to raise funds for park enhancements. Donors who make gifts of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,500 are able to specify wording on an engraved plate that honors one or more family members or friends. The plates are added to a tribute wall that is located at the Nicolet Beach shelter. Gifts to this program are helping to purchase new picnic tables, fire rings, and grills for the park.
 The Friends are also awaiting word on the next steps in rebuilding Eagle Tower at the park. They accomplished their goal of raising $750,000 for this project last August. Initial bids came in significantly over the original cost estimate, so the DNR has made adjustments to the specifications and requested new bids. The hope is that construction will start this fall and be completed by summer 2020, More information about all of these projects is available at

Meet Jonathan Ringdahl - FWSP Board Member

Little did I know that a school trip to Perrot State Park would start a series of life-changing events. I still remember emerging from the forest to see the Mississippi River valley in its splendid glory below, from atop Bradys Bluff. I fell in love and have been in love ever since.
It was always a treat to travel from La Crosse to visit Perrot and, truthfully, any state park system property. They all hold beauty in one form or another.
Venture forth to some properties that you have never been to this year. You will thank me later.
In 2012, I wanted to do something memorable. l decided my challenge was to visit every Wisconsin State Park system property. There were 65 listed at the time. With a lot of help from my family, I accomplished this goal.
Along the way, I learned of the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks (FWSP). After my journey was completed, I was invited to the FWSP annual banquet, followed by a board meeting a few months later.
The rest, as is said, is history. I love being an ambassador for our incredible state parks. l have a perspective few others have on how incredible and diverse the system is.
FWSP has given me the chance to make our parks better. l have had many great conversations with park users. 
In addition, I have used my voice as a constituent, to reach out to my legislators in order to let them know I value places natural, wild, and free. I want them protected and funded as well.
Those of us who recognize the value of our natural resources need to use our voice to help preserve, protect, promote, and enhance them.

Photo Contest for Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Calendar 2020

Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Photo 2019 Photo Contest

The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks (FWSP) invites all interested individuals to enter their favorite state park, forest, trail or recreation area photo in our annual photography competition. Winners will be featured in the 2020 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Calendar, released in the Fall of 2019.
There are so many opportunities to enjoy the Wisconsin state parks during all four seasons. We are looking for photo entries that include beautiful scenery along with people recreating and enjoying activities like hiking, picnicking, cross-country skiing, kayaking/canoeing, horseback riding, biking and exploring. (View Contest Rules)
This is the tenth year the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks has sponsored the photography competition.
  • Photographs must portray a specific Wisconsin State Park, Forest, or Trail and cannot include illegal activities (i.e. camping in an unauthorized area). We are looking for photos that show scenes from the parks, forests, trails and recreation areas. Wildlife photos will not score as high as scenery submissions.
  • Only horizontal images will be accepted.
  • Light edits/enhancements only — heavy effects or manipulations will not be considered.
  • Photos must be submitted electronically. All photos must be described on the contest entry form, which must be included with your photos.
  • An entrant must hold all rights to a photograph. For a photo in which a person is recognizable, you must secure a model release from the subject and include this with the submission.
  • Photographs previously published or pending publication, or photos that violate or infringe upon another person's copyright, are not eligible.
  • You may submit more than one photograph per season and up to four(4) total entries. We do not accept more than one contestant per email address.
  • Employees of the DNR and board members of the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks and their immediate family members are not eligible to win.
  • Photos must be the highest resolution possible — a minimum of 1600px x 2000px at 300 dpi.
By entering a photo, you are verifying:
  • The image is your own;
  • The photo has not been altered beyond light editing/enhancements.
  • The photo is not subject to any third party agreements;
  • No laws were violated in obtaining the photo.
How to Enter:
Internet access is required to participate in the contest. Participants must review the full rules before entering any photos. Photos must be submitted electronically. There is no entry fee to participate. No more than four(4) photos may be entered by any one person.
A panel of Friends of Wisconsin State Parks board members and staff will review accepted entries and select the winning photos. Photo awards will be presented at the FWSP Annual Awards banquet to be announced later
Entries must be uploaded by Tusday, September 3, 2019, midnight
By participating in the contest, you hereby grant FWSP unlimited, non-exclusive, irrevocable permission to publish and reproduce your image in media including but not limited to the website, and promotional materials in perpetuity. perpetuity reserves the right to exclude any photo from the contest.

Patricia Loosen
Executive Director Friends of Wisconsin State Parks

2019 Gold Seal Award Contest

Friends of Wisconsin State Parks
Gold Seal Awards

Ends  Friday, August 30, 2019

The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks are asking for your vote in this year's contest categories. If you are a camper, biker, hunter, hiker, angler, or park visitor, cast your vote for your favorite state park, forest, trail, or recreation area in the categories below.
The winning parks, forests, trails, or recreational areas will be honored with a Gold Seal Award at the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Awards Banquet on Saturday, November 10, 2019. The statewide Friends of Wisconsin State Parks organization runs the Gold Seal Award program each year to highlight Wisconsin’s parks, trails, and forests.

Contest ends Friday, August 30, 2019.
The 2019 categories are:
  • Best state park concession for ice cream
  • Best state park for a family picnic
  • Best state park with a handicap accessible trail
  • Best state park with scenic bluffs
  • Best state park nature center for children’s activities
  • Best state park trail to view wildlife
  • Best state park beach to build a sandcastle
  • Best state park with rustic campsites
  • Best state park with a variety of fitness options
  • Best state park/trail for Winter recreation
Patty Loosen
Executive Director - Friends of Wisconsin State Parks
608) 294-0810

Shop Online - Give the Gift of Recreation

Welcome to The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks online store for 2019. 
Ordering online makes shopping very easy. Orders are processed and shipped within 1-2 business days via USPS. 
The 2019 state park vehicle admission stickers and trail passes make great gifts. They are gifts that can be used every day, all year long, all around the state at our beautiful Wisconsin state parks, forests, trails, and recreation areas.

The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks online store uses PayPal. You can shop with or without a PayPal account. (Click to Shop online.)