Letter to the Editor

Help keep state park vital by becoming a 'Friends' member

To the Editor:

The Friends of Blue Mounds State Park is a revitalized group that is focusing our efforts on maintaining and improving the gem we all have access to right in our own back yard. Our group’s sole purpose is to better the park for all, both locals and visitors. We would like to tell you about our goals and a few of the things happening at the park.

Recently the Star Herald highlighted some very exciting news. The safe drinking/showering water initiative has made huge strides with the help of Rock County Rural Water. We expect to see potable drinking water and showers in the park in the summer of 2018.

Secondly, we all have opinions on what we'd like to see done with the Interpretive Center (Manfred House), but the DNR has the final decision. The building has been deemed unsafe for anyone to enter, including park employees. Building a house into a natural living and breathing rock wall does not hold up well to the annual freeze, thaw, seeping moisture, and humidity that occurs. It might be possible to keep the building, but renovate it to an open-air picnic structure. Our group is hopeful about this possibility and continue to express our desire toward that end.

People travel far to access some of the best rock climbing in the tri-state area here; there are over 300 climbing routes at Blue Mounds! We are working to make the cliff line more accessible by clearing overgrowth for both climbers and hikers. Follow our Facebook page for future brush clearing events next spring. Many hands make light work!

Finally, we are in the planning stages to improve the former beach area by adding a picnic shelter, new playground equipment, a nature play area and more. These goals are long-term as that area will be staging for the creek restoration starting in 2018.

We are aware that many, near and far, cherish this gem we have in our back yard. As we look forward to upcoming projects, we ask you to get involved. It's about helping to preserve and improve a true piece of our collective history — something we can all be proud of.

How can you help? First, become a member. Your membership will help provide financial assistance and strengthen our park community. Follow our Facebook page. Visit our booth at the Winterfest. Maybe you’d like to help out with an event or fundraiser? We are looking for a volunteer to build a bench or two for the park. Treated lumber and DNR-approved plans would be supplied.

The Friends of Blue Mounds State Park is part of the MN State Parks and Trails Council. Your membership and donations are tax deductible and specifically earmarked for Friends use. You can be sure your support helps Blue Mounds State Park directly.

Thank you for your interest and support in the park. Please contact us with any questions, concerns, or comments at jprekker@hotmail.com or call 507-283-4796.

Taylor Graphenteen

On behalf of Friends of the Blue Mounds State Park



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