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 www.peninsulafriends.org.