New challenge encourages Wisconsin families to visit 66 State Parks this spring, summer, & fall

'Friends of Wisconsin Parks' unveils list of 20+ activities for visitors to complete

From Door County and the Dells to Milwaukee, Madison, and everywhere in between, the pandemic shuttered hotels, waterparks, museums, and all 66 Wisconsin State Parks this time last year. This spring, many families have again found themselves in a familiar situation.

“One of the hardest parts has been knowing what is or isn’t open,” said ‘Madison Mom‘ blogger Alisa Sleep, who has three kids of her own. “Just setting expectations for kids: obviously, they’re going to have some disappointments this year.”

In an era of capacity limits and social distancing, the Wisconsin State Park system is working to safely attract more families to the Badger state and give those who already live here, like the Sleeps, new places to explore.

Starting March 20 and running through September 22, the ‘Friends of Wisconsin State Parks’ is launching more than 20 challenges for visitors to complete. There’s everything from hiking one trail in every state park to picking up litter, spotting a waterfall, or taking a scenic family selfie.

“I think kids love and challenge, and they’ve positioned it to be like a scavenger hunt,” Sleep explained. “There are a lot of places you can just explore. And many are free, too.”

Families can keep track of every challenge they complete by downloading a free logbook, available here. Participants will receive a digital certificate for each challenge and will be entered into a drawing to win prizes.

The challenges are:

  • Hike 50 miles on WSPS properties
  • Hike every trail on one WSPS property
  • Camp six nights total on a WSPS property
  • Camp overnight while backpacking at least once
  • Fish at three different WSPS properties
  • Paddle five different bodies of water on WSPS properties
  • Visit and photograph five different waterfalls on WSPS properties
  • Build and photograph sand sculptures on five different WSPS beaches
  • Bike 50 miles on state trails or WSPS properties
  • Take a selfie from the top of 10 scenic overlooks
  • Take 10 photos of historic buildings, which includes lighthouses, located on WSPS properties
  • Photograph examples or evidence of indigenous peoples on 10 WSPS properties
  • Visit a WSPS property in each of the six districts
  • Visit the same WSPS property once a month March through September
  • Join a Friend’s group
  • Clean up litter for 2-3 hours at two or more WSPS properties
  • Pick garlic-mustard for 2-3 hours at a WSPS property
  • Identify and list 25 plants seen on WSPS properties; take photos of at least three
  • Identify and list 25 different birds seen on WSPS properties; take photos of at least three
  • Identify and list 25 insects seen on WSPS properties; take photos of at least three
  • Find 15 geocaches on WSPS properties
  • Cross-country ski 50 miles at a minimum of two properties

You must have an admission sticker to enter Wisconsin State Parks. They can be purchased for $28/year or $8/day. Annual stickers can be purchased online or at the parks.

Click here for a list of all 66 Wisconsin State Parks.