Photo by (c) Paul Stelter

The Butterfly Pond Trail gives visitors a chance to experience a variety of wildlife, including this doe and fawn.

PROJECT UPDATE: The playground equipment has been installed for a handicapped-accessible playground in the upper portion of the park. The upgrading of the nearby rest room is now underway to accommodate use of wheelchairs.

In 2014, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism named High Cliff State Park as one of the Seven Natural Wonders in Wisconsin. Our board is energized and excited to keep up our efforts to support High Cliff State Park to make the park a place where people can experience the beauty and wonders of nature, relax, and refresh their spirits, and/or enjoy the many outdoor recreational activities.

Since 1997, the Friends of High Cliff have been busy both physically working on as well as raising funds to complete many small and large projects to enhance High Cliff State Park. We were honored in 2006 and in 2012 to be named "Friends Group of the Year" by the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. Enjoy the many pictures of accomplishment of our organization. Hope to see you soon!

Photos courtesy of (c) Greg Burns

Habitat restoration around the Butterfly Pond includes the area around the houses set up for the Purple Martin colony that lives at High Cliff for part of the year.

Accomplishments were made possible with the help of generous donors, fundraising projects, and our membership and community volunteers.


  • Installation work on new accessible playground completed.

  • Benches were added to the playground facility to allow easy viewing for families.

  • Work began on upgrading the adjacent Grissel Building to be ADA compliant.

  • Regular publication of our newsletter and upgrades to our web-site and social media presence took place.

  • The albino deer display was completed and installed in the park office.

  • The park office was remodeled/redecorated.

  • The Friends committed to a new interpretive signage project for Butterfly Pond Trail.

  • Replanted flowers and greenery by the upper park pavilion.

  • At the request of the DNR, we participated in the state-wide selection process for new DNR wardens.


  • Received authorization to begin construction of a major ADA-accessible playground.

    • Hosted a visit by the community foundation and a major private donor which led to receipt of a $100,000 grant.

    • Began infrastructure improvements in 2019 including accessible sidewalk installation and upgrading of rest room to accommodate wheelchairs.

    • Equipment installation and project completion planned for spring 2020.

    • Formally thanked by the Natural Resources Board for this initiative.

  • Upgraded the park office entrance to install vented high efficiency windows, alleviating a sauna atmosphere when entering the building in the summer.

  • Hosted 88 volunteers of all ages who gathered on a cool rainy Saturday morning in April to take part in our Park Clean-Up.

  • Attracted about 350 birding enthusiasts to the 8th Annual Purple Martinfest on June 29. This was the first time this event was held at High Cliff State Park.

  • Hosted Dick Nikolai of the Wisconsin Purple Martin Association who was the guest speaker, and featured presenter at our annual meeting on November 19.

  • Provided worms and bait for the State Free Fishing Weekend.

  • Facilitated firewood sales to campers.

    • Held several fund-raising brat fry events including:

    • In conjunction with Free Fun Weekend on June 1.

    • Zero to 60 Open House in downtown Sherwood, on July 28.

    • Halloween Great Pumpkin Event on October 19.

  • Re-established production of a newsletter for members, now published quarterly.

  • Established capability and began processing credit card payments for Friends merchandise.

  • Provided state park admission stickers to qualified volunteers.


  • Purchased 65 trees for Arbor Day planting, and provided lunch for volunteer tree-planters

  • Completed major updates to Upper Park Pavilion, including:

    • Remodeled storeroom into a caterer’s kitchen

    • Replaced gutters and downspouts

    • Repaired walkways and upgraded doorways to be accessible compliant

  • Upgraded lighting by park office

  • Repaired fencing and gate by Lime Kiln Ruins

  • Received Nelson Family Donation, used in part to fund Park Stewardship activities

  • Funded purple martin bird banding project

  • Supported Marina in upgrading the sanitary pump there and added new bumpers around docks

  • Provided worms and bait for State Free Fishing Weekend

  • Purchased 128 fire rings for campsites, which will allow replacing all of them in 2019

  • Facilitated firewood sales to campers

  • Held several fundraising brat fry/food events including:

    • a community brat fry on June 2

    • Zero to 60 open-house on July 29

    • Concessions at Halloween Campground event

  • Provided state park admission stickers to qualified volunteers


  • Added shelter w/accessible picnic table to Butterfly Pond Trail

  • Replaced doors on Pavilion shelter


  • Epoxied floor of Pavilion shelter

  • Sponsored Butterfly Pond prairie burn


  • Sponsored High Cliff State Park 50th Park Anniversary Celebration

  • Purchased DR Brush Mower

  • Installed 4 water bottle filling stations

  • Purchased and Installed Purple Martin nest camera


  • Restored historic silo


  • Purchased Polaris Ranger UTV


  • Repaired Lime Kiln Trail stairway

  • Purchased Yellowstone Ski Trail Groomer


  • Purchased 40 acres for park expansion

  • Constructed Visitor Entrance Station Kiosk


  • Provided accessible cabin Needs

Long Term / Ongoing Commitments

(2000-Present) - Wood concessions

(2002-Present) - Butterfly Pond Trail expansion, improvements and habitat restoration

(2009-Present) - Fund Earn-a-Park-Sticker Program for dedicated park volunteers

(2013-Present) - Sponsor Trees for Annual Arbor Day tree planting

(2016 - Present) - Fund part-time Stewardship Coordinator