The Friends of Devil’s Lake was organized for the charitable and educational purposes of supporting, assisting, and promoting the Wisconsin department of Natural Resources with interpretive, scientific, historical, educational, recreational, and related visitor services at Devil’s Lake State Park, Sauk County, Wisconsin. In order to accomplish this purpose, the corporation has the following objectives.
A. Promote Educational Activities
Sponsor and support volunteer interpretive services and environmental educational activities, seminars, lectures, and other activities that contribute to the interpretive, educational and recreational and operational programs at Devil’s Lake State Park.
B. Publish, Promote & Disseminate Educational Materials
Provide for the distribution or sale of appropriate interpretive materials, such as books, pamphlets, and photography at Devil’s Lake State Park, in cooperation with the Baraboo Devil’s Lake Concession Corporation (currently known as Devil’s Lake Concession Corporation*).
C. Provide Financial Support
Provide financial support to Devil’s Lake State Park for the furtherance of its interpretive programs, facilities and resources, raising revenues through such methods as membership fees, donations, sales and special events.
D. Provide Stewardship Support
Provide support for resource stewardship activities at Devil’s Lake State Park.
*The Devil’s Lake Concession Corporation (DLCC) is a non-profit corporation that was incorporated 1963. The DLCC operates concessions at Devil’s Lake State Park (e.g., gift shops, concession stands and campground store). The proceeds for the DLCC operations go to the Wisconsin State Parks, and have also generously supported the Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park organization over the years.
The Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park is a nonprofit organization that was organized on January 18, 1996. The four original founders were Bob Tully, Ginny Pederson, James Mitchell, and Debbie Martin, and the initial Board of Directors were the aforementioned founders plus John Connell, Bill Greenhaulgh, and Tom Osborne of the Devil’s Lake Concession Corporation.
Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park began with the simple desire by various people to serve the Park and support Park staff in any ways possible. The “Friends” idea came from the passion and foresight of our charter Officers and board members. Each of these tireless volunteers were spending countless hours volunteering at the park. Even in the mid-nineties, when Park staff was larger than today, staff was overwhelmed by the visitors and the need for services at the park. In addition, private citizens were concerned about the stress on the landscape and trails, etc.
Friends member Janie Osborne recalled the first time she and her husband Tom saw Devil’s Lake. It was in 1959 from the window of their train passing through the park. From then on, Tom and Janie, as well as the others mentioned above, knew a greater legacy could be left to assist Park staff and serve Park visitors. Tom and Janie eventually founded the Devil’s Lake Concession Corporation, and later helped create the Friends of Devil’s Lake.
The initial meeting of the Friends took place on October 18, 1996. At that time, a Board of Directors was formed, a formal agreement with the Department of Natural Resources was signed to formally be attached to the park, and the Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Sauk County Register of Deeds. The Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park then became recognized as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization by both the IRS and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
The initial member prospect list was created from a list of repeat campers at the Park. Friends activities quickly picked up the pace in their first year, including four newsletters, a workshop on invasive plants, a fishing clinic, a booth at the Sauk County Fair, canoe/kayak clinics, a Friends picnic, adopting a segment of Highway 113 from upper DL south to South Lake Road through the Adopt-A-Highway program, hosting the annual Devil’s Challenge Triathlon, and offering a long list of field guides and other books at discount prices through the North and South Shore concession stores. In addition, the initial Board voted to establish the Friends of Devil’s Lake Endowment Fund to pay for future projects at the park. (See the Policy for Management of Endowment Fund below in “Documents” for details on this fund).
Today, the Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park remains organized for the charitable and educational purpose of supporting, assisting, and promoting the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with interpretive, scientific, historical, educational, and related visitor services at the park. We have no employees and Directors receive no compensation.
As the Friends initial Board Chairperson Bob Tully said in his first annual report (1997), “Your support has been vital, and we can’t move ahead without your renewed membership. Encourage others who love the park to JOIN.” His message rings true today as we all have the opportunity to become and remain stewards of Devil’s Lake State Park.
The Friends of Devil’s Lake endeavors to be transparent in its efforts and encourages members to keep up on Board activities, decisions and initiatives. The public is welcome to attend our Board Meetings; please see our Calendar for the schedule.
The below documents help current and potential members become familiar with Friends activities and priorities. We welcome your questions and especially your participation!
Please see our Newsletter Archive for a collection of as many newsletters as we could find!