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Wyalusing State Park to celebrate 100th anniversary June 3

Published by Central Office May 23, 2017

Contact(s): Paul Holtan, state parks, forests, trails and recreation public affairs manager, at 608-267-7517

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. - The public is invited to come out and celebrate Wisconsin's fourth oldest state park during a 100th anniversary celebration on June 3 at Wyalusing State Park. The celebration coincides with Free Fun Weekend in Wisconsin, when entrance fees to all state parks, forests and trails are waived.

A group of men at a park party in formal suits and hats. A few carry walking sticks. One of a series of photographs most likely taken by John Nolen, the well-known landscape architect John Nolen who recommended Wyalusing become a state park.
A group of men at a park party around 1908 in formal suits and hats. A few carry walking sticks. One of a series of photographs most likely taken by John Nolen, the well-known landscape architect who recommended Wyalusing become a state park.
Photo Credit: UW Madison Digital Collections

Wyalusing is one of four locations for Wisconsin's first state parks recommended by landscape architect John Nolen in a 1909 report to the State Parks Board. The State Parks Board recommended acquisition of the property, which the legislature approved in 1912. Development of the property took a few more years and the park officially opened in June 1917, making Wyalusing Wisconsin's fourth state park following Interstate in 1900, Peninsula in 1909 and Devil's Lake in 1911.

Due to its location at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers, the area where the park is now located has a rich history. Different Indian cultures occupied the region as early as 9,000 B.C. and there is a procession of 28 Indian mounds along Sentinel Ridge overlooking the Mississippi River. Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet arrived at the Upper Mississippi River in 1673 after a four-day journey on the Wisconsin River. A monument at Point Lookout is dedicated to the two explorers.

During the Great Depression a Civilian Conservation Corps camp was located at the park that built park roads, trails, stone fireplaces in shelters and picnic areas and the stone walls along Point Lookout and the four other lookouts that offer expansive views of the bluffs and rivers below.

One of only two astronomy observatories located in Wisconsin state parks is also located at Wyalusing. The other is located at Harrington Beach State Park. The Lawrence L. Huser Astronomy Center is named after a park ranger who worked at Wyalusing for 30 years. The center and observatory are run by the StarSplitters Astronomy Club, a local non-profit group of astronomy enthusiasts who conduct regular astronomy programs at the park.

The Wisconsin Ridge campground offers spectacular views from atop the river bluffs making it one of the most sought-after campgrounds in the state park system. The park also has the Homestead campground, offering a total of 114 campsites, and an indoor group campground.

With views 500 feet above the confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers, the Wisconsin Ridge Campground has some of the most sought-after campsites in Wisconsin.
With views from 500 feet above the confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers, the Wisconsin Ridge Campground has some of the most sought-after campsites in Wisconsin.
Photo Credit: Wis. Dept. of Tourism

The park has more than 18 miles of hiking trails, some of which are groomed for cross-country skiing during the winter. A marked, 6-mile canoe trail starts at the park boat landing and winds through the backwaters of the Upper Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

The Friends of Wyalusing and Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce along with the Department of Natural Resources will be holding a 100th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday June 3, 2017.

For more information about the park, search the Department of Natural Resources website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "Wyalusing."

The schedule includes:

For updated times and changes check www.wyalusingfriends.org (exit DNR).

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications
608-267-2773