Richard Bong State Recreation Area

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Richard Bong State Recreation Area is a 4,515 acre area of the Wisconsin State Park System. It is located in Kansasville, Wisconsin in Racine County.

Sunset over Wolf Lake at Richard Bong State Recreation Area: [1]

History

In 1954, the U.S. Government decided it needed a jet fighter/interceptor base in either Southeastern Wisconsin or Northeastern Illinois to protect the Milwaukee-Chicago area from hostile air attacks. It chose a 5,540 acre plot in the towns of Kansasville and Brighton, Wisconsin. Three days before the gravel runway was planned to be surfaced, construction came to a stop due to Defense Department budget problems, criticism that this air base may be obsolete, and concerns of air space congestion. In 1963, the federal government gave 1,933 acres to the Wisconsin Conservation Department for that land to be managed as a wildlife preserve. In May 1974, A private consulting firm is hired by the DNR to gather planning data, solicit public input, and develop a conceptual master plan on how to best use the 4,515 acres. The DNR appointed a master planning task force to create goals and objectives. In Spring 1978, state legislature authorized 3.9 million dollars to implement the master plan. In the early 1980's, facility development was complete. [2]

Amenities and Recreational Use

Richard Bong State Recreation Area provides many recreational opportunities to the public such as hunting, hiking, and swimming, fishing, kayaking at Wolf LAke located within Richard Bong. There is two modern campsites with 217 total camps, as well as two group camp sites that can accommodate 225 people. There is more than 16 miles available to hike as well as 6.5 miles of ATV trails and 8 miles of off-road motorcycle trails. A 200 foot beach accompanied by a picnic area. [3]

Wildlife/Nature Preserve

As of 2003, only 280 of the park's 4,515 acres were developed, which is consistent with the "master plan" goals. In 2005, the park was designated as an Import Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. [4]

Bong Naturalist Association

The Bong Naturalist Association is a volunteer group that is dedicated to support and promote the educational and recreational goals of Richard Bong State Recreation Area. [5] The Bong Naturalist Association partners with the park to enhance and protect natural resources as well as educate visitors on the importance of preservation and conservation. They has also furthered enjoyment of the park by adding an observation platform that overlooks the refuge, and a solarium in the park's visitor center. The BNA has many goals such as prairie and trail restoration, conducting educational programs for visitors as well as school groups and a focus on restoration of native plants. [6]

References

Article History

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