APPLETON — High Cliff State Park would more than double in size and get $11.3 million in upgrades under a proposal by the state Department of Natural Resources.

The draft master plan calls for the addition of 1,820 acres to the 1,195-acre park on the northeast shore of Lake Winnebago. Its boundaries would extend to Wisconsin 55 to the east and Calumet County Park to the south if the state acquires the additional land — which is in the hands of more than 100 landowners — at an estimated cost of about $9.1 million.

High Cliff, one of the state’s smaller parks, is Wisconsin’s fifth busiest, bringing in about 417,000 visitors annually, said Carolyn Morgen, park superintendent.

“What happens is the property just gets used a lot, it gets loved a lot,” Morgen said. “We would love to be able to expand and offer people more recreational opportunities.

“It is exciting. We also understand that it is for willing sellers only and it’s going to be a long process.”

The public can hear about the plan and comment on the park’s future at a May 7 meeting at the Sherwood Community Center. The master plan will be submitted to the state’s natural resources board for approval in June, Morgen said. Plans for specific projects will be drawn up once the master plan is approved.

While the park expansion could take years, work on upgrades to the park’s dated infrastructure and facilities could begin soon. Repairs to the park’s showers could start as early as this year, Morgan said.

Other projects, including a $1.5 million expansion of the family campground, will be prioritized based on need and available funds.

Morgen said it likely will take three to five years before bigger projects — such as the estimated $5.5 million marina upgrade — appear on the construction calendar. Funding can hold up the timeline, but projects can be paid for with state dollars, grants and donations, she said.

“I think there is a lot right now, and I think a lot of what happens with High Cliff is going to depend on the economy,” Morgen said. “If we have to wait for state funds, they’ll just get pushed back.”

High Cliff State Park’s last master plan was approved in 1982. It is supposed to be revised every 10 to 15 years once the plan’s goals are met, Morgen said.

The draft master plan calls for High Cliff to share a border with Calumet County Park and offers options to connect the two parks if complete land acquisition does not occur.

Frank Wasdovitch, Calumet County Parks Department director, said plans to connect the two parks through a trail system have been in the works for about a decade, but have stalled in recent years.

“We think it would be beneficial for both parks to be connected so there is an off-road type trail so people could safely go between the two parks,” Wasdovitch said.

The park’s northern neighbors are optimistic that plans for park expansion and improvements would increase business in Sherwood, said Village President Jim Rath. A portion of the state park is within the village’s boundaries, he said.

“We hope to have visitors spend more time and become a true destination for the people visiting High Cliff State Park,” said Rath, who plans to attend the May 7 meeting to learn more about the proposals. “The park is a treasured asset of the area.”


Park master plan proposes doubling High Cliff’s size, millions in upgrades | Green Bay Press Gazette | greenbaypressgazette.com.




Lake Winnebago – Swift and quiet, massive shoves of ice piled up onto the western shores of Lake Winnebago Tuesday — a natural event so phenomenal to witness, lakefront homeowner Michael Paulson couldn’t believe his eyes.

“I was looking out of that window getting a fork out of the drawer, and all of sudden I saw ice going through the yard where I’ve never seen ice before,” Paulson described. “The amazing part is, it wasn’t making any noise, silent.”

It took just five minutes for northeast winds gusting at nearly 40 miles an hour to propel the ice from water to land, stacking chunks up to thirty feet high in some spots and invading properties.

“Well it’s scary when it comes up because you don’t know how far the ice is going to come,” says Richard Mason, who’s lived on Lake Winnebago for more than 70 years.

But what’s so incredible about this event is not just how far the ice traveled but how dense and thick it is. Neighbors say normally it’s much more brittle.

A bench ripped out of the ground, a pergola knocked sideways, and boat decks snapped like twigs are among the casualties that will need to be taken care of.

“The damage is probably several thousand dollars on my property, but if you look to either side of me you can see my misery is shared with my neighbors,” says Bob Thom of Neenah.

While ice shoves may be common in this area, no one has ever seen anything like this. And until it all melts, there’s plenty of ice. They’re happy to share.

“Anybody needs free ice, we have lots of free ice. Help yourselves,” says Thom.


Massive Ice Shoves Descend Upon Lakeside Homes – WBAY.



NORTHEAST WISCONSIN – Although many are celebrating the arrival of spring, not everyone is thrilled about the warmer weather.

Don Herman from the Otter Street Fishing Club and Sunk? Dive and Ice Service sent FOX 11 this photo.

It happened on Lake Winnebago by Black Wolf Avenue near Oshkosh.

Herman said the driver went through the ice while coming back to shore from fishing.

The driver wasn’t injured, and Herman was able to pull the truck out of the water.

In Door County, officials say a 59-year-old Sturgeon Bay man went through the ice on his snowmobile.

It happened just before 6:45 p.m. Friday between the Maple-Oregon Street Bridge and the Bayview Bridge in Sturgeon Bay.

Police say the man was traveling toward the city’s downtown when he turned around and the back of his snowmobile went through the ice.

The man said he was in the water for one to three minutes up to his neck but was able to pull himself out. He was not injured.

Authorities said they suspected he had been drinking, and tell FOX 11 the man then admitted he was drinking. Officials say initial tests showed he was over the legal limit. He was arrested for operating while intoxicated.

Officials are urging everyone to use caution on the ice and venture out at their own risk.

The Door County Sheriff’s Department said conditions have deteriorated with the warm weather and the predicted rain will only make them worse.

They said anyone going out on the ice shouldn’t go alone, carry a cell phone, have proper clothing and equipment and be aware of current ice conditions and weather.

via Truck sinks in Winnebago County.