Park Update – September 2022

Thank you to all who came out and made Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile a success. Hosting this event would not have been possible without the support and outreach efforts of the Friends of Lakeshore State Park as well as the presence of the Bureau of Land Management, US Forestry Service, and Riveredge Nature Center. Canoemobile is a unique occasion to provide park patrons of all ages and backgrounds with the opportunity to learn about canoeing and water safety. We hope to make this a returning event.

Summer will soon come to an end but there is still plenty to do and see at Lakeshore. Recently, staff has seen the woodchuck that lives in Rock Prairie, as well as a rare sighting of a fox roaming the riprap behind Fox Prairie. Walk the park early in the morning and you too may catch a glimpse of the famous Lakeshore foxes!

Notable events this month include Girl Scouts Love State Parks weekend (September 10-11th), Food Trucks and Kayaks (September 11th), and cultural walks with our interpretive educators celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th) and Indigenous Peoples Day (September 23rd). A full list of Lakeshore events can be found below.

Upcoming Events

Saturday, September 3rd—9:30-10:30 a.m. Bird Hike
Saturday, September 3rd —4:00-5:30 p.m. Prairie Hike
Saturday, September 10th-11th Girl Scouts Love State Parks Weekend (see below for details)
Saturday, September 10—7:00-9:00 p.m. Beach “Bonfire”
Sunday, September 11th —10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  Food Truck and Kayaking
Thursday, September 15th —6:00-7:30 p.m. Hispanic Heritage Month Hike (Bilingual)
Wednesday, September 21st—6:00-7:00 p.m. Dragonfly Hike
Wednesday, September 21st—7:00-9:00 p.m. Beach “Bonfire”
Thursday, September 22nd —6:00-7:00 p.m. Late-Blooming Flowers Hike (Bilingual)
Friday, September 23rd—6:00-7:30 p.m. Indigenous People Hike
Saturday, September 24 – 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Medicinal and Edible Plants Hike (Bilingual)

If you have any questions about upcoming events, please contact Elaine Zautke (Lakeshore State Park Manager). / 414-274-4281

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

Park Update – June 2022

Summer is fast approaching, and our marina opened back up for the season on May 15th. Overnight reservations for the Park’s 20 boat slips are accepted up to 11 months in advance . The marina season will be getting cut short this year, as they will be getting fully re-decked beginning in early August. We’ve also made an adjustment based on analysis of previous years’ use to our hourly use slips. This year, Slip 6 only will be made available for hourly, on a first-come/first-served basis each day except for Summerfest, Germanfest and Air/Water Show weekends when the marina is fully reserved.

Special Group Volunteer Project: Last year, we were able to work with a group of volunteers to complete a new coat of paint to half of the harbor railings down by the Milwaukee Pierhead Lighthouse. We are looking for a group to assist us again this year in finishing up the remaining railings. If you have a group that may be interested, reach out to Angela with any questions and to schedule a date to come out!

Thank you to all of the volunteers that have assisted us so far this season, with litter cleanups, invasive species removal, and prairie plantings! Truly, we could not complete our major projects without all of your help, and it is greatly appreciated!

Note that the main ‘island’ portion of the park will be closed due to firework discharges on the following dates this month associated with events at Henry Maier Festival Park: 6/4, 6/9, 6/11 and 6/23. From approximately 8:30 pm to 11:30 pm, the park will be closed to visitors between the pedestrian bridge and the back of Summerfest’s BMO stage to ensure visitor and staff safety until discharge and safety inspections are complete.

And lastly, I’m trying to keep this short because we have a large number of public events coming up in June! Our educator staff members are keeping themselves busy and offering a wide variety of events for everyone to enjoy, so check out the upcoming events and come learn something new! For more information on each event, visit the Friends Facebook page or search for ‘Lakeshore State Park’ on the DNR’s Event page.

Angela Vickio
Superintendent – Milwaukee State Parks Work Unit

Upcoming Events
All events meet at the Park’s north entrance, just west of Discovery World, unless otherwise noted.

  • Saturday, June 4 – 9:30-10:30 Bird Hike
  • Saturday, June 11 – 1 to 2:30 Apps for Plant and Animal Identification
  • Monday, June 13: 9:30 to 11 a.m. – National Weed Your Garden Day Volunteer Park Weeding
  • Tuesday, June 14 – 6 to 7:30 Flag Day Veteran’s Hike
  • Wednesday, June 15 – 6-7pm Rainbow Scavenger Hunt
  • Wednesday, June 15 – 7-9pm Beach ‘Bonfire’ (Meets at Pebble Beach)
  • Thursday, June 16 – 6 to 7:30  Wild Edible Plants / Plantas silvestres comestibles (bilingual)
  • Friday, June 17 – 6-7:30 Pollinator Hike
  • Saturday, June 18 – 1 p.m. to 2:30 Fossil Hike / Caminata de fósiles (bilingual)
  • Sunday, June19 – 1 to 2:30 Father’s Day Fishing Clinic / Aprender a pescar con Papá para el Día del padre (bilingual) (Meets at South Entrance)
  • Tuesday, June 21 – 7 – 8:30 pm Summer Solstice Sunset Hike / Caminata al puesto del sol para el Solsticio de Verano (bilingual)
  • Sunday, June 26 – 1-2pm Prairie Phenology Hike
  • Sunday, June 26 – 7 – 8:30 pm Sunset Hike / Caminata al puesto del sol (bilingual)
  • Tuesday, June 28 – 6 to 7:30 – History of Lakeshore State Park Hike / Caminata histórica del parque estatal Lakeshore (bilingual)


Spring migration, when many bird species visit town en route to their final destination, is a special time for birders. And Lakeshore State Park, with its mix of lakefront and prairie habitats, is a special place to take advantage of this opportunity.

Since June is the last month of spring migration season, we asked blogger and birder Nathaniel Wegner for some tips about taking advantage of it. Nathaniel, a home-schooled high school student who lives in Greendale, has been birding since 2017. He travels the state to explore parks and other natural environments and appreciates the unique experience each place offers.

“The number of species moving through our area is extremely fun to witness,” said Nathaniel. “The majority of Milwaukee’s shorebirds, warblers, and thrushes (and many sparrows and flycatchers) are migratory, so spring and fall are our only shot at seeing most of these species.”

At LSP, Nathaniel’s personal favorite during spring migration is the American Avocet. “Through the years, Lakeshore has been the best area in Milwaukee county to see this species,” he said. “It’s such a distinctive looking species in a class of birds that’s notorious for looking very similar, with its cinnamon colored head, black and white wings, and blue-grey legs.” You can usually find American Avocets on the beach along with other migrating shorebirds.

Nathaniel has been to many other parks with beaches, large grassy areas, rocks by the lake or rain gardens, but he considers LSP unique. “I think it’s the combination of all of these habitats (and in a relatively small area, in the middle of downtown) that gives it such bird diversity.”

You can learn more about birding at Nathaniel’s blog, Sunday Birders. And watch the Friends’ website for more tips from him about bird-watching at LSP.


Nathaniel Wegner Credit: Photo by Steve Wegner
Nathaniel Wegner Credit: Photo by Steve Wegner

President’s Message – May 2022

Earth Day turned out to be the nicest day yet this year in Milwaukee, and quite a day it was at Lakeshore State Park while 33 volunteers gathered 27 large bags of trash – thank you Milwaukee Riverkeeper and volunteers!

Looking for a group activity?  Schedule a tour of the park, learn about upcoming events or volunteer opportunities, and the new process for volunteering with DNR-sponsored events.

We have an active, all-volunteer board. Recently we pitched and won a 2022 grant from Greater Milwaukee Foundation for a DNR naturalist educator for the season. We look forward to more groups taking advantage of the increased educational programing available as pandemic restrictions subside in the months ahead.

Do you have a passion for volunteering and want to help make our park and the Milwaukee lakefront thrive?  Help us plan and support park events this summer! Other ways to help are available as well. If interested, please complete the form at this link and we’ll quickly get back with you.

In next month’s newsletter, please look for our membership appeal which will help ensure sufficient funding for park programs. Thank you for your continued support and we hope to see you out at the park soon!

David Wenstrup
President, Board of Directors

Park Property Supervisor Update – May 2022

Thank you to all the volunteers that came out for the Milwaukee Riverkeeper Spring Cleanup at Lakeshore State Park! Your work helped prevent dozens of bags worth of litter and debris from making its way into our precious resource of Lake Michigan, and it was one of the nicest weather days we’ve had for the event in years!

As we move to warmer weather, park staff and volunteers are working to make sure our prairies are ready for spring. You may see some of the prairies mowed back, in an effort to encourage mulch formation after they’ve served their purpose of food and habitat for winter wildlife. This practice also allows us to identify and remove invasive plants that seek to establish and take over prior to our native warm weather grasses and forbs emerging.

Thanks to contributions to the Friends of Lakeshore State Park, we are continuing efforts to restore our second largest prairie to native grasses and forbs. Our order of 4,548 prairie plants are set to be delivered the week of May 23rd. We are in need of all the help we can get (many hands make light work) for volunteer shifts 9-11:30am and 1-3:30pm daily on May 25th, 26th and 27th. To sign up for a shift (or a few), visit and follow the instructions for becoming a volunteer in our State Park System!

Migratory waterfowl are making their way back for summer, with recent sightings of a couple northern shovelers, American black ducks, and blue winged teal. American avocets are also on their way through, so keep your eyes open along the shoreline and quiet water basin at the park!


Avocets at the Park

We’ve got a number of events coming up in May, including our first beach ‘bonfire’ of the season, hope to see you there! All events meet at the north entrance unless otherwise noted.

Saturday May 7th, 9-10:30am Lakeshore History Hike
Sunday May 8th, 1-2pm Walk with Mom
Saturday May 14th, 9:30-10:30am Bird Hike
Wednesday May 18th, 6-7pm Bubble Walk
Wednesday May 18th, 7-9pm Beach ‘Bonfire’ (meet at pebble beach)
Saturday May 21st, 10-11:30am Kids Fishing Clinic (meet at south entrance near BMO Harris stage)
Saturday May 28th, 10-11 am Prairie Phenology Hike

Angela Vickio