Naturalist Programs - August 7th

Edible Plants Hike

2:00 pm

Edible plants are all around us — you just need to know which ones to look out for.

Come along for our edible plants hike, and We’ll show you how to identify some of the wild edibles growing in our area, plus some tips on how to harvest and prepare them.

Meet at the Visitor’s Center

Smokey Bear’s 77th Birthday Party

Everyone is invited! There’s even a rumor that Smokey himself will make an appearance at Wyalusing!

5:30 pm — Wildfire Prevention Activity (ages 8 and under)

6:00 pm — Parade

Following the parade, We will read the story of Smokey the Bear, and finish with Cake and Ice Cream!

Meet at the Peterson Shelter

Sponsored by Friends of Wyalusing

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Seeking Donations for Winter Fun

XC Skiing Snowshoeing

  • Expand six miles of X-Country ski and snowshoeing trails

  • In 2020 Wyalusing saw an increase of 30% user activity and this trend is continuing.

  • Wyalusing State Park staff and winter volunteers spend well over 40 hours a year conscientiously grooming the tails with the same equipment for over 15 years.

The Friends of Wyalusing State Park have continuously contributed time and money towards activities that support and enhance the visitor experience.

The Friends of Wyalusing have committed financial assistance of at least $16,000.00 towards this project which includes:

  • New, safer, modern trail groomer and roller

  • Tracks for newly purchased UTV.

The Friends of Wyalusing are seeking donations. Please consider making a donation. (More....)

Wyalusing State Park, in the Driftless area of southwest Wisconsin, currently offers six miles of X-Country ski trails that are being used by more and more winter enthusiasts. In 2020 Wyalusing saw an increase of 30% user activity and this trend is continuing.

Wyalusing State Park staff and winter volunteers spend well over 40 hours a year conscientiously grooming the tails with the same equipment for over 15 years.

Wyalusing State Park, in Bagley, WI intends to answer the demand for more winter activities with more trails open to our many park visitors. The staff and volunteers are committed to offering the highest quality grooming for X-country skiing and snowshoeing while ensuring our crew the tools and equipment needed to safely perform these duties.

The Friends of Wyalusing State Park have continuously contributed time and money towards activities that support and enhance the visitor experience.

The Friends of Wyalusing have committed financial assistance of at least $16,000.00 towards this project which includes:

  • New, safer, modern trail groomer and roller

  • Tracks for newly purchased UTV.

The Friends of Wyalusing are seeking donations. Please consider making a donation.

Please choose an option:

  1. Click here to download, print, fill out, and send a check to:

The Friends of Wyalusing, Inc.

1300 E. Wells Street

Prairie du Chien, Wi 53821

Attn: treasurer

  1. Click to make an online donation

DNR announced operation updates

Beginning on April 30th the Wisconsin DNR is opening up a bit more of the parks and stepping back from various COVID regulations that have been in place since last year. Here’s what they have to say today…

Click here for more information.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced several State Park System operations updates outlined below.

Starting April 30, the following changes will be implemented:

  • Observation towers and playgrounds will be open

  • Volunteer group sizes will be increased to 50 people

  • Capacity for open-air shelters, amphitheaters and outdoor group campgrounds will be increased to 100 people

  • Non-department led special event capacity will increase from 50 to 100. Special event permit applicants may work with property staff to phase larger events with capacities over 100.

  • Stand-alone concession facilities will open to the public at 50% capacity including staff

In addition to the operations updates, the following amenities continue to be available to state park visitors:

  • Family camping (100% reservable with auto check-in)

  • Outdoor group camping, maximum capacity of 100 people (100% reservable with auto check-in)

  • Bathroom and dump station facilities

  • Accessible cabins

  • Drive-up window service

  • Concessions, including firewood sales

Rock Island will remain closed to all visitors through Thursday, May 27 to allow for repairs to the dock including dredging of the dock area. Camping reservation holders will be contacted directly and those scheduled to arrive on Wednesday, May 26 or Thursday, May 27, will be given the opportunity to shorten their stay to arrive on Friday, May 28.

Indoor group campgrounds and indoor shelters, including the Flambeau River State Forest yurt, will also remain closed through June 1. Wisconsin state park and property visitor capacity closures will remain in place to help manage overcrowding and promote social distancing.

The following State Natural Areas are now open:

  • Pewits Nest

  • Parfrey’s Glen

Spring Reminders

Rain coupled with an increase in use can sometimes be damaging to public spaces and natural resources. While DNR staff try to provide signage and condition updates whenever possible, please be sure to stay on trails and seek dry trail alternatives if you find muddy conditions.

Visitors are encouraged to practice social distancing and to wear a face covering when a distance of 6 feet or greater cannot be achieved.

State park visitors can purchase annual admission passes online, over the phone by calling local properties directly or in-person at self-registration stations at individual properties.

For more info:

Contact: DNR Office of Communications

nowledgeable about the area and is here to serve everyone.

Endangered Bee Sighted at Wyalusing State Park


Rusty Patched bumblebee photo and article by Brad Kolhoff.jpeg

The rusty patched bumblebee (Bombus Affinis) is one of 20 bumblebee species historically found in Wisconsin. Until the 1990s it was abundant across the eastern United States and Canada. Unfortunately, since then rusty patched abundance and distribution has declined by around 87%, and it was listed as a federally endangered species in 2017.

Wisconsin remains one of the few remaining places the rusty patched bumble bee is still found. Since 2000, the bee has been found in 38 Wisconsin counties, including Grant, Crawford, Iowa, and Lafeyette. Observations of Rusty Patched are usually of only a single individual, rather than the dozens or even hundreds of individuals expected in a healthy population.


Bumblebees eat both nectar and pollen. While foraging, they transfer pollen between plants (pollination), which allows the plants to reproduce sexually. Bumblebees are important pollinators of wildflowers and are the chief pollinator of many economically important crops like blueberries, cranberries, clover, and tomatoes.

Threats to the rusty patched bumble bee include pesticides, climate change, habitat loss, and disease. As numbers decrease, the bumble bee’s annual reproductive strategy makes it particularly vulnerable to the effects of small population size. They have annual colonies that die off at the end of each summer; only new bumblebee queens survive into the winter months, meaning the population is very small and vulnerable at that time.

You can help the rusty patched and other bumblebees in several ways:

  • Plant a variety of natives that flower April-October.

  • Minimize the use of pesticides (both insecticides and herbicides).

  • Leave natural habitat in your yard like brush and leaf piles, woody debris, and bare earth.

  • Photograph and report bumblebees to the DNR’s Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade, a statewide monitoring project with a need for volunteers in the southwest part of the state.

Learn more at

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Extra Special Memories at Concession Stand

The photo carousel shows just a few of the special items that will be available, at The Bluff Top Shop this summer.

The Bluff Top Shop is sponsored by The Friends of Wyalusing. It is located at the top of the Wisconsin Ridge Campground inside the park. (NOT AT THE PARK ENTRANCE.

Wyalusing state park

Bagley, WI

Wyalusing State Park is located over 500 feet above the confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin River. The park contains 2600 acres including stunning bluff views, river wetlands, bluff-top forests, and home to hundreds of species of plants and animals including 284 distinct bird species.

The logo for Wyalusing State Park and The Friends of Wyalusing State Park features the Kentucky Warbler and Chinquapin Oak tree.

Within the park boundaries, three threatened species: Cerulean and Kentucky Warbler and Acadian Flycatcher can be seen throughout the summer. All are more southern species that nest along the steep slopes of this park.


During the spring and summer, the rolling song of the Kentucky Warbler can be heard throughout the forests. The Kentucky Warbler spends most of its time on the ground in moist, leafy woodlands in search of insects. Despite its bright colors, it can be surprisingly hard to see in the shadows of the deep forest interior.

The Kentucky Warbler winters in the tropics of central Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula. A group of Kentucky Warblers is collectively known as a "Derby" of warblers, perhaps, because it is named for the state in which it was first discovered in 1811, by Alexander Wilson.

The Chinquapin Oak, a Wisconsin Special Concern plant. It is native to eastern and central North America, ranging from Vermont west to Wisconsin and south to South Carolina, western Florida, New Mexico, and northeastern Mexico from Coahuila south to Hidalgo. It is very rare in Wisconsin, barely reaching the southwestern corner of the state on a few very dry sites near the Mississippi River. Chinkapin oak is generally found on well-drained upland soils derived from limestone or where limestone outcrops occur. Occasionally it is found on well-drained limestone soils along streams.

Review and Renew

It is that time of year again to close out the 2020 past and look forward to 2021. It has been an interesting year for sure. We started the year with high hopes and planned a lot of great projects and activities. Then Covid-19 hit. Due to park closures early and continued restrictions, we were unable to provide a naturalist position for the park this year. In addition, all of our normal events for the season ended up as cancellations. It is sad to work toward and plan for things that do not happen but public health must be the first priority. (More)

Support FOW by joining us.

Friends of Wyalusing Endowment

The Friends of Wyalusing is the very first friends' group of a state park in Wisconsin to start an endowment fund for a state park. We started by depositing $1000 in an "acorn fund" with the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. The goal was to deposit $1,000 each year until the fund reached $10,000. at that point, we could either withdraw 5% of the fund or let it grow. (More...)

Friends of Wyalusing were THE FIRST Wisconsin Friends Group to start endowment fund...

(Make Endowment to "Friends of Wyalusing")

The Friends of Wyalusing State Park are very proud to be able to leave this legacy for future generations and hope you will support us in making our "acorn" grow into a mighty oak for the future.

When asked about the meaning of the Endowment Fund for the future, Kathy Paske, Secretary of Friends of Wyalusing said, "The park is a special place in many different respects--historical, geographical, diverse flora and fauna and spiritual to name a few. We want to make sure future Friends have the means to continue our conservation and education efforts."

Bruce Klang wrote, "For all of my adult life, I have worked for Wisconsin State Parks. I have seen first hand the impact these natural areas can have on park visitors of all backgrounds. Our family grew up camping and enjoying our parks and we hope that future families will have the same opportunities."

The Friends of Wyalusing State Park Endowment Fund is a permanent endowment that was created by the Friends of Wyalusing State Park to provide a perpetual source of funding to support the natural resources and educational, interpretive and recreational needs of Wyalusing State Park. The Endowment fund was begun in February of 2009. The endowment is managed by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. Contributions to Fund are tax-deductible and can be made by sending a check to the Natural Resources Foundation of WI, Attn: Friends of Wyalusing State Park Endowment Fund, PO Box 2317, Madison, WI 53701 or by donating online at

If you love Wyalusing State Park and want to help protect its natural beauty and recreational opportunities for future generations to enjoy and explore, consider leaving a legacy gift behind by including the Friends of Wyalusing State Park Endowment Fund in your will. To leave a bequest to the Fund, simply incorporate the following language in your estate plans: “I give [describe the gift] to the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [federal tax id # 39-1572034], a nonprofit corporation organized and existing under the laws of Wisconsin and with a principal mailing address of PO Box 2317, Madison, WI 53701. This gift shall be designated to the Friends of Wyalusing State Park Endowment Fund.”

Make a tax deductible donation.

Upcoming Events

*All events and meetings are subject to change due to covid restrictions or other unforeseen circumstances. Information valid as of March 10, 2021.

  • June 26, 2021 - Shakespeare in the park public performance (45 minute workshop at 5:30 and our 75 minute performance at 7:00.)

  • July 3rd Naturalist's Programs

  • August 07,2021 - Smokey’s Birthday Bash public event 6:00 p.m.

  • September 25, 2021 - Annual Harvest Festival 6:00 p.m.

  • October 02, 2021 - Annual general meeting with election of officers and directors for 2022.