President’s Message

Hello – I’m not a fan of extreme cold but I like winter, and am happy to finally see snow once again blanketing the beautiful prairies in Lakeshore State Park!  I hope you enjoy the winter wonderland as much as I do.

You may have noticed that we don’t send a newsletter in January. Our volunteer board and committee members have been busy during that time doing outreach, putting together plans for projects and events for the rest of the year. I’m happy to report that for events we are planning an increased number and variety of activities coming to the park in 2023, all at no charge. 

Looking ahead to warmer weather, we’re excited to be partnering with Milwaukee Kayak Company on monthly sunset paddles in June, July and August. As dates are set for all the upcoming events, we’ll list them here in our newsletter, and post information on our social media (links at bottom of the page), and on our website calendar:

Finally, we got notice that the Amazon Smiles program is shutting down. While we didn’t receive much income from that source, every bit helps to support the many programs we offer at the park. So please consider donating below. And if you want to get involved, we always could use help at the park or on committees – if interested please contact us here:


President’s Message

Hello – As the end of year approaches, I think it’s a good time to celebrate the many accomplishments of the Friends of Lakeshore State Park thus far in 2022. Here are highlights:Facilitated enrollment of volunteers under Milwaukee Riverkeeper’s Adopt-a-River program for two Park clean up days

  • Assembled grant funds to purchase over 4,500 native forbs and prairie grass plugs for Fox Prairie, and participated in the three-day volunteer effort to get these plants in the ground in late May
  • Hosted the first ever Brunch on the Beach food truck event on a beautiful July summer day
  • Promoted the Park at multiple events:  Family Day at Northwestern Mutual Community Park, the Air & Water Show, Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile, “Indeed We Can” at Indeed Brewing, The Dragon Boat Festival and Harbor Fest
  • Raised grant and donation dollars to pay for three new picnic tables in the Park and facilitated the addition of two benches and another table
  • Used grant dollars secured in 2021 to pay for park naturalist and diversity intern hours and supplies devoted to developing and leading educational tours and programs in the Park
  • Secured a grant and sourced matching funds to cover updated signage and tools for the fishing programs. Awarded a grant to cover similar educational services in 2023
  • Awarded a grant to cover the cost of a Park Educator in 2023
  • Used grant dollars to pay for Park bike racks
  • Completed the second year of environmentally safe goose mitigation spraying using a grant secured in 2021, resulting in a year-over-year drop in the goose population count – and cleaner paths
  • Used grant dollars for supplies and helped recruit a volunteer group to complete painting of harbor railing along the south approach to the Park
  • Significantly increased our presence on social media and news reporting including TV on-site coverage of Brunch on the Beach
  • Moved ahead with planning for the Visitor & Education Center by completing engineering studies for bringing water and sewer infrastructure into the Park
  • Began a collaborative project to develop a conservation and education program using student-designed pollinator houses to be installed in the Park in 2023

All this from your all-volunteer Friends of Lakeshore State Park – your donations make this and more possible! Please consider today making a donation.

And new this year, we’re excited to join with dozens of other non-profit organizations on the “Giving First” initiative on November 22nd. Up to $2,000 of donations raised on that date will be matched dollar for dollar by two anonymous donors, a 3-for-1 benefit we’d love to maximize. Please look for more information about this program later this month.

I hope you can take time to enjoy these fine fall days we’re having. The Park prairies are beautiful now with late blooming asters aglow in the late afternoon sun – so come out to the Park!

President’s Message – October 2022

September was a busy month at Lakeshore State Park. Thanks to the work of Wisconsin DNR staff and volunteers, we had over a dozen organized events enjoyed by many park visitors. Partnerships are vitally important to us as we work with the Wisconsin DNR in support of the park. Our many community partners help us bring varied activities that meet the wide interests and needs of our visitors and also help make outdoor recreation and education fee-free and accessible for everyone.

Walking is one of those free and readily accessible activities that can be enjoyed most anytime. In this month’s article, Diane Bacha gives 10 reasons why our park is a great place to walk. Our guided hikes provide wonderful opportunities to see many of our feathered friends, and are especially fun during the fall migration. During a recent park visit, nature photographer Jim Edlhuber captured an amazing moment when a young pelican flew over the park entrance sign – click on the photo below to see more at his blog.

Spreading the word about all our park has to offer is important. At Harbor Fest last week, our volunteers along with the DNR hosted a tent in the Harbor District, providing information to many festival goers about our beautiful park and the many programs that are offered here. More than 60 people signed up to receive our monthly newsletter – welcome new subscribers! We hope everyone shares the newsletter with their friends and family as well.

The days are getting noticeably shorter, but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the natural beauty of the park. A variety of activities will be available with 10 events planned in the upcoming weeks, listed in the park update below, on our Events page and on Facebook.

David Wenstrup
President, Friends of Lakeshore State Park

President’s Message – Sept. 2022

Because Lakeshore Park has a beautiful and unique location between Lake Michigan and the Summerfest lagoon, water naturally plays a key role in many of our park’s activities.  Two popular water events welcomed back this August were the Dragon Boat Festival and the Canoemobile – see the photo collage below.

We have many more planned events in this month. The weekend of September 10th and 11th we’re celebrating Girl Scouting with activities open to everyone. On Sunday morning, visit one of the food trucks that will be parked on the green by the pebble beach, then try out your skills with kayaks, canoes and paddleboards provided courtesy of the Milwaukee Kayak Company. The monthly Park Update below, courtesy of Elaine Zautke, our park manager, gives details about these and other activities that will available this month – something for everyone and free for all.  

To help you keep track of all these activities, check out our new calendar feature on our website at . Through long hours of volunteer work, Joseph has been using his expertise to transform our site with many improvements – thank you, Joseph! 

Summer seems to be moving by quickly, doesn’t it? To take advantage all the fun and educational activities available at the park during the remaining warm days ahead, please plan a visit soon

David Wenstrup
President, Friends of Lakeshore State Park

Photos clockwise from the top: a Dragon Boat Race team, loading a canoe at the pebble beach, and Riveredge staff demonstrating macroinvertebrates during Canoemobile

President’s Message – August 2022

It’s prime time for fun at Lakeshore State Park, and with so many educational and recreational activities available, keeping up with the list can be a challenge!

We post planned events on our social media, and starting this month, we’re adding details to our website: A summary of events the DNR and we host is listed at the bottom of the newsletter as well.

Numerous public events at the park not hosted through the DNR don’t get listed though. For example, the US Triathlon is this weekend: The park is a great place to watch the action. Another to note is the Dragon Boat Festival which takes place on August 13th. Friends of Lakeshore State Park volunteers will be there to help promote our organization and sell raffle tickets. Please stop by our table and say hello while enjoying this wonderful cultural festivity.

Last night, our Friends group hosted an “Indeed We Can” benefit in Walkers Point. Thanks so much to the DNR staff who led a popular trivia game about the park, and our volunteers and board members who promoted the park and sold raffle tickets. And thanks to Indeed Brewing Company for generously donating net proceeds of $558 from beer sales to our organization. Turnout was great, and we plan to hold this event again next year!

For our monthly article, Diane Bacha did fine research about shipping news in the Milwaukee harbor area. See why Lakeshore State Park is one of the best places to watch these huge vessels come and go!

Canoemobile is back in Milwaukee! Reservations are still available. See Elaine’s Zautke’s park update for details about this event and other activities like volunteering and field trips.

The many activities, the beauty of Lake Michigan and downtown Milwaukee combine to make Lakeshore State Park a premier location for education, conservation and recreation for everyone – come take advantage of everything the park has to offer!

David Wenstrup
President, Friends of Lakeshore State Park

Field Trip Offering
Friends of Lakeshore State Park, in partnership with DNR and MMSD still have some availability in free field trip offerings (including busing reimbursement) that are focused on water quality. These field trips include macroinvertebrate study relating to water quality, and a brief hike about Lake Michigan ecology. Field trips qualifying through this program need to be conducted prior to October 31st. For scheduling this opportunity, or for other field trip interest, contact our educator

President’s Message – July 2022

The heat is on and summer is in full swing with many wonderful events going on around Milwaukee. Looking for a place to chill? It’s cooler by the lake, and our beautiful state park is surrounded by water!

There are many ways to cool off at the park. You can check out one of them in our feature article this month by volunteer Diane Bacha.

We have 14 events scheduled at the park this month, several available as bilingual, listed here on Facebook: One is our first ever food truck event to be held inside the park on July 10th, the day after Summerfest winds down. Along with great food there will be live music and family-activities to help keep the party going.

These many park events are made possible thanks to the hard work of the Wisconsin DNR staff. Park supervisor Angela Vickio oversees our park as well as Havenwoods State Forest and Hank Aaron State Trail. She’s introducing our new park manager Elaine Zautke. Stop and say hi to Elaine and the DNR staff when you see them at the park.

So come out to the park, enjoy the summer sun and one or more of our free events – happy Fourth of July everyone!

David Wenstrup

President, Friends of Lakeshore State Park