DNR director's view: Check out Wisconsin’s state parks, forests, trails — for free
Welcome to a Wisconsin summer. The first weekends already are on us. So start planning. Start with Wisconsin's annual "Free Fun Weekend," which is this Saturday and Sunday. Wisconsin residents and visitors can fish for free, get into state parks ...
Welcome to a Wisconsin summer. The first weekends already are on us. So start planning.
Start with Wisconsin’s annual “Free Fun Weekend,” which is this Saturday and Sunday. Wisconsin residents and visitors can fish for free, get into state parks and forests for free, bike state trails for free, and ride their ATVs and UTVs free on public trails that are open to such uses. So get out and enjoy, whether you want to stay close to home or make it a weekend getaway (search for “free fun” at dnr.wi.gov for more information).
One of my favorite places is Pattison State Park south of Superior. There, a “Building Partners” open house is being held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the main shelter building. Area fire departments, Boy Scout troops, the Friends of Pattison and Amnicon Falls, and the North Country Trail Association all are invited. Bruce Routh, a member of the CCC Camp Pattison, will attend from 10 a.m. to noon. He helped build the main shelter in 1941.
The 12th annual Outdoor Extravaganza will be held at Les Voight State Fish Hatchery in Bayfield from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday. The event includes fly casting and tying, archery lessons, and free food and beverages - while the food and beverages last.
The parks are in full bloom, and the waterfalls, thanks to recent heavy rains, are spectacular. Copper Falls State Park near Mellen is a great place to enjoy a picnic and take in the rugged natural beauty of the Bad River Gorge and associated waterfalls. Make sure to ask about the Red Granite Fall Trail while at the park. The Red Granite Falls is a hidden gem at the park.
These state-operated parks, forests and trails are ours, yours and mine. All it takes is a pass, which you can get for the day or, as many prefer, the season. A pass admits you not only to northern destinations but to any of the state’s 113 parks, forests, trails and recreation areas.
And if you haven’t ventured out for a while, or if you have never experienced the Badgerland’s natural beauty, we have a free, no-strings-attached opportunity Saturday and Sunday, and you can pack in all the fun you and your family want into one weekend.
So wet a line; pitch a tent; dip a paddle; or hit a trail by bike, foot, ATV or UTV. I hope to see you in the woods or on the water this summer.
John Gozdzialski is the director of the northern region for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.