Powers Bluff Development Project

Preserving the Past — Planning for the Future

Powers Bluff Park Sign

The Wood County Park and Forestry Department would like to announce the start of a fundraising capital campaign entitled: Powers Bluff Development Project – Preserving the Past, Planning for the Future.

First, we would like you to know where the money will be going and how it will be used. As the campaign progresses, we will keep everyone posted on Facebook and our website as to the status of the dollar amount collected and where we are at with our goal.

The Capital Campaign will run until 2019, if necessary. Funding sources being pursued include: personal donations, local business donations, private and public foundations, and WI DNR grants. All donations will go directly to Wood County and will be placed into a dedicated account until funds are needed to begin the development. All donors contributing $100 or more will be recognized via social media. Donors giving $1,000 or more will be included on the donor wall at the Multi-Use shelter building. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Tax receipts will be issued. Questions regarding contributions should be referred to your tax advisor.

Where is the money going? How will it be used?

Funded With Grants/Donations
Project Cost
Entrance Road/Parking Lot $ 824,000
Multi-use Shelter Construction $ 3,100,000
Snowmaking Equipment $ 350,000
Ski/Tube Hill Lights $ 75,000
Subtotal $ 4,349,000
 
Funded By Wood County
Trail Development $ 5,000
Playground Equipment $ 50,000
Ice Skating Rink $ 5,000
Sledding Hill $ 2,000
Maintenance Building $ 125,000
Three (3) Acre Fishing Pond $ 30,000
Subtotal $ 217,000
 
Grand Total $ 4,566,000

Development Plan

Note: This page depicts the park once all of the development projects are completed.

In 2003, the Wood County Park & Forestry Department began developing a Long Range Master Plan for Powers Bluff County Park. The plan’s Mission Statement is as follows: Powers Bluff County Park is a unique natural, cultural, and recreational resource. The long-term vision is to protect it for future generations of Wood County residents so they may enjoy the park for years to come.

The following groups assisted in the development of the master plan: Friends of Powers Bluff, Ho-Chunk Nation, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Wood County Parks and Forestry Committee, and several interested individuals from the public.

The plan was finalized and approved by the Wood County Board of Supervisors in 2005. The main recommendation from the plan was for Wood County to acquire adjoining property north of the existing 160 acre park. The purpose was to separate the different user groups in order to protect the cultural and environmentally sensitive areas of the park, while still having the ability to develop the outdoor recreation opportunities the area provides.

In 2012, Wood County acquired 223 acres of property north of the existing park. In 2016 the Highway, Infrastructure and Recreation Committee instructed the Park and Forestry Department to begin soliciting donations and applying for grants for the preservation and development of the park.

Environmental Resource Preservation

Wildflowers

At 1,472’ above sea level, Powers Bluff is the tallest point in Wood County and sits on top of a 300’ high monadnock – an isolated remnant hill made of erosion resistant quartzite. Its unique flora, fauna and geologic features have been studied, recorded and are appreciated by many people.

The southeastern 70 acres of the park make up the Powers Bluff Maple Woods State Natural Area. A 1.5 mile nature trail loops through the wooded area and provides breathtaking scenery throughout the year. A nature guide booklet is available to assist in identifying the unique plant species. The Environmental Education learning room, located in the multi-use shelter building, serves as a remote learning center for many area school groups.

Cultural Resource Preservation

Historic Residents of Powers Bluff

Powers Bluff/Skunk Hill (Tah-qua-kik) was the home of a unique settlement of landless Prairie Band Potawatomi, Ho Chunk, Ojibway and Menominee from 1905 to 1930. Its worth as a cultural resource in Wood County was memorialized in 2002 when the National Park Service placed the southern 80 acres on the National Register of Historic Places. The 1.5 mile interpretive trail helps tell the story of this time in history. The stone shelter building, on top of the bluff, is also used occasionally as a cultural learning center.

Recreational Opportunities

Powers Bluff is the destination for many outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Year-round opportunities include: 7 miles of single track bike/snowshoe trail, 5 miles of hiking/cross country ski trail, snow tubing, downhill skiing/snowboarding, ice skating, sledding, and fishing in a 3 acre recreation pond.

Powers Bluff Tubing Powers Bluff Biking

Multi-use Shelter Building

Multi-use Shelter Building Elevation Drawing

This year-round shelter building is the main attraction for many events that occur in the park. The shelter is made up of 4 different areas: the atrium, events room/winter warming area, meeting room/environmental education learning room, and the lower level.

Atrium

This is an open air shelter area and is available to all park users, unless reserved, throughout the year. This area has tables for picnics, restrooms, drinking fountain, access to concessions, and a gas firepit to enjoy during colder temperatures. This area can also be reserved for many different types of events and can seat approximately 70 people.

Events room

This large hall is used as a warming/eating area during open times of the winter sports season. Outside of this time, the hall is available to groups that reserve it. The hall has access to concessions, a kitchen designed for catered events, and restrooms. The hall also has a small stage and portable bar. This room seats up to 300 people and is great for weddings, family reunions, outdoor sporting events and class reunions.

Meeting room/Environmental Education learning room

This room is designed as a classroom and is ideal for environmental learning due to the close proximity to the State Natural Area. This room can also be reserved for other events throughout the year, including during the winter sports season. The room can seat 70 people.

Lower level

The lower level is only open during the winter sports season. There is an equipment rental area (downhill and cross country skis, snowboards, sleds, snowshoes, ice skates), lockers, first aid room, and a restroom.

Long Range Master Plan

For more information, please refer to the Powers Bluff Long Range Master Plan.

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Powers Bluff Park Expansion Map

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