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January 18, 2011

MADISON -- Friends of Rib Mountain State Park recently received the Friends Group of the Year award by the Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Parks and Recreation.

"The Friends of Rib Mountain State Park have been and continue to be a valued asset to Rib Mountain State Park," said Bill Bursaw parks property manager, "and they have added great value to the outdoor recreation opportunities offered in the greater Wausau Area."

Bursaw said the group has been instrumental developing additional hiking and snowshoeing trails on the west end of the park, sponsors the popular "Concert in the Clouds" series held in the state park amphitheater, holds candlelight snowshoe hikes, and has purchased equipment and provided funding for seasonal internships through UW-Stevens Point. One of the internships included a park naturalist.

"We would not be able to get these things done without the assistance of the friends group," Bursaw said. "It is a great asset to the area to have such dedicated citizens involved and interested in this community facility."

The group is currently working on plans for a large open air shelter.

The award was presented at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum last October. Steve Engler accepted on behalf of the Friends of Rib Mountain State Park from Dan Schuller, director of the state parks program and John Waring, Friends of Wisconsin State Parks (exit DNR) Past President.

The DNR's friend's group award is given annually to a parks friends' organization that performs outstanding work for the properties they advocate. Friends of Wisconsin State Parks is a non-profit organization that is made up of a volunteer Board of Directors of 18 members, has more than 75 local friends groups with membership from all across Wisconsin.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Bursaw - (715) 842-2522

Last Revised: Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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