Exciting times are coming for the Friends of Governor  Dodge State Park with the official announcement of plans to construct a new, 21-site equestrian campground. The park's 5,000 forested acres, located in SW Wisconsin's unique driftless region, include 25 miles of well-maintained horse trails that are some of the finest in the state. Sadly,  after a day of enjoying the park's beautiful trails, trail riders currently return to an aging and less than welcoming  11-site horse campground, which was intended to be  "temporary" but has lingered for almost 35 years.
Now, thanks to the diligence and persistence of the  Friends of Governor Dodge Equestrian Committee, this is about to change! Working closely with the Wisconsin  DNR and incorporating information collected from many potential users around the state in 2017, the committee has secured the concept design and cost information developed by Ayres and Associates, Madison, for a beautiful new equestrian campground. Designated the Trails End  Campground in the park's 1984 master plan, the new facility will be located in a peaceful and scenic valley on the park's north side. it will provide generously spaced campsites and shared spaces that take full advantage of the site's natural topography while causing minimal site disruption.  The increased number of sites will allow hundreds more horseback riding park users to experience the natural beauty of Governor Dodge State Park each year.
The project's fundraising goal of $750,000 will cover construction costs of $650,000 as well as fund an endowment to ensure that future maintenance needs can always be met. This goal is already one step closer to reality thanks to a  major gift of $69,000 awarded by the Wisconsin Horse Council  Equine Foundation on behalf of the estate of lris Cooley, a  trail rider and supporter of Wisconsin horse trails. The Friends officially kicked off the campground fund drive and accepted this wonderful gift at their annual fundraiser, a poker ride/  hike that was held on June 3, 2018.
Raising the needed funds by our targeted construction date of 2020 will require lots of hard work and creativity. We are  excited to take on the challenge and confident that 2020 will  find us “Building the Dream-With Your Help."
Submitted by jean Warrior  Friends of Governor Dodge State Park  Equestrian Committee