Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kick Off Outdoors Month With Free Weekend In Wisconsin Parks

The first weekend of June WI State Parks Welcomes all with free activities
Wisconsin State Parks are participating in and kicking off Great Outdoors Month during the first weekend in June.


June 2 state trail passes, normally $4, are not required in honor of National Trails Day. State park vehicle admission stickers are still required on this day.

Saturday, June 2 to Sunday, June 3 is also "Free Fishing Weekend" in Wisconsin, and fishing licenses are not required this weekend. Many parks are planning clinics and games for all ages and will lend fishing equipment.

June 3 is open-house day in Wisconsin state parks, admission is free to all state parks, forests, recreation areas and trails on State Park Open House Day. There are some special events going on for the day

  • Cadiz Springs State Recreation Area, Monroe, 608-214-1716 or email -
    • Fling Into Summer. Celebrate the kick off to summer with the Friends Of Cadiz Springs for some family-friendly games, prizes and activities. Youngsters will enjoy sifting for treasure, temporary tattoos and the duck pond dip. Older kids and adults can play the fish match game and the trivia treasure hunt. There will also be a fishing contest for kids ages 12 and under. Kids must be accompanied by an adult in order to participate in the contest. Food and soft drinks will be available for sale with proceeds going to help purchase new playground equipment for the park. 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, 608-356-8301 ext 140 or email -
    • Butterfly Walkway. Join volunteer Don Stoffels in this hands-on, kid-friendly program to explore the more colorful insects of Devil's Lake. Meet at the nature center. 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.
    • Drop in on Bats. Bats are one of nature's misunderstood creatures. Drop in and find out which bats live in Wisconsin, dispel some bat myths, and learn about the bats at Devil's Lake. Activities will happen at the North Shore beach by the Chateau. 1 - 3 p.m.
  • Harrington Beach State Park, Belgium, 262-285-3015 -
    • Astronomy Viewing. View the sky with the Northern Cross Science Foundation [exit DNR]. Look through telescopes to view the moon, planets and stars. If the sky is overcast, the event will be cancelled. If partly cloudy or better, event will still be held. Meet at the Jim and Gwen Plunkett Observatory at the park. Noon-5 p.m.
  • Hartman Creek State Park, Waupaca, 715-258-2372 -
    • Open House Day. Free vehicle admission for all. Come down to the Hellestad house to enjoy free cake on us! Program runs from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • High Cliff State Park, Sherwood, 920-989-1106 or email -
    • Free Fishing Days. No license needed to fish June 2-3 in Wisconsin's inland lakes. No fishing pole, no experience fishing? No problem! Stop at the park office and sign out a fishing pole at no cost. First-come, first-served basis.
    • Wisconsin State Parks Open House Day.  Admission is free to all properties in the Wisconsin State Park System. Enjoy a day in the park!
    • Back in Time: History of High Cliff. Learn about the history of High Cliff Village and how "The Ledge" played an important part in the lime kilns. General store museum tour and walk to kiln ruins. 1–2:30 p.m.
  • Kettle Moraine State Forest--Northern Unit, Campbellsport, 920-533-8322 or email -
    • Spring into Summer Nature Fest. Journey out on Wisconsin’s State Park System Open House Day to the Spring into Summer Nature Fest! There will be something for all ages at four different activity stations. Learn about our fascinating fish, take flight with the birds of a feather, celebrate the summer sun, and create your own nature prints. Bring a T-shirt or bandanna to print or purchase one that day. Mauthe Lake Recreation Area (located off Highway GGG south of Highway SS near New Prospect). Noon - 3:30 p.m.
  • Kohler-Andrae State Park, Sheboygan, 920-451-4080 or email -
    • Spring Open House. Visit Kohler-Andrae for the annual spring open house. Free fishing day also. No vehicle admission charge today.
  • Lake Wissota State Park, Chippewa Falls, 715-382-4574 or email -
    • Open House Day. Free admission to the park today! The Friends of Lake Wissota State Park will sponsor canoe/kayak rides, kid’s games, geocaching. Come join the fun! Events are scheduled from 1-4 p.m.
  • New Glarus Woods State Park, New Glarus, 608-527-4939 -
    • Camping 101. Learn the fundamentals of camping. This program will demonstrate the knowledge and techniques to enjoy camping. Learn the "do's and don'ts" in an entertaining way, such as setting up a tent in a secure location, safely using cooking equipment, avoiding poisonous plants and campfire safety. Table displays will be set up to identify poison ivy, animal tracks and scat, and more information about plants and animals in the park. The first 75 attendees will receive a free water canteen (as an incentive to avoid the use of plastic bottles). Grilled brats will be provided while supplies last. The event is sponsored by the Friends of New Glarus Woods State Park. Meet at the picnic shelter by the park entrance. Noon - 2 p.m.
  • Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek, 920-854-5976 or email -
    • Open House Day. Park vehicle stickers not required today. Free tours of Eagle Bluff Lighthouse.
  • Potawatomi State Park, Sturgeon Bay, 920-746-2890 or email -
    • Fish Fun! Create a fantastic fish print test your fish ID skills, and check out a group of gobies during this drop-in program. Come and go as you please. Nature center. 10 a.m. - Noon.
  • Richard Bong State Recreation Area, Kansasville, 262-878-5600 -
    • Fishing Clinic. Drop in on Walleye's Unlimited to fish. Bring your own equipment or use their poles and bait. No licenses needed! Meet at Shelter #2 from 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
    • Family Nature Faire. Join us for family fun, food, raffles, live animals, plant sale, art and nature booths, and much more! Sponsored by the Bong Naturalist Association. Meet at Shelter #3 at the beach. 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • Roche-A-Cri State Park, Friendship, 608-565-2789 -
    • Roche-A-Cri Stairway Reopening. Come celebrate State Parks Open House Day at Roche-A-Cri and hike to a spectacular overlook. The stairway to the top of the mound which was closed for much of 2011 recently reopened. Refreshments will be provided by the Friends of Roche-A-Cri State Park. Free cake and snacks will be available for sale. Meet at the stairway kiosk and shelter. The dedication ceremony for the stairway will begin at 11 a.m.
  • Willow River State Park, Hudson, 715-386-9340 -
    • Art Along the Willow. An art fair with other activities for families. This event is on Open House Day so there is no admission fee to the park. Meet at the beach area. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Wyalusing State Park, Prairie du Chien, 608-996-2261 or email -
    • Paul Lawrence Interpretive Center Dedication. The Paul Lawrence Interpretive Center at Wyalusing State Park will officially open to the public at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 3 which is also the annual State Parks Open House day when vehicle admission fees are waived. The Friends of Wyalusing State Park [exit DNR], with the help of matching grants and community support, financed the restoration and modernization of the building, originally constructed in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The building served as the park office until 1998. Paul Lawrence was the first park superintendent at Wyalusing State Park. The public is invited to this event. Learn more about the history of this building, as well as the programs and the man that made the original building possible. Refreshments will be provided.
These are great opportunities to try out our wonderful state parks and the amenities within them.