The Newport Wilderness Society has received a $20,000 Knowles-Nelson stewardship grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to install a boardwalk on the fern loop at Newport State Park. While the path totals over 2 miles, the new installation is intended to cover around a third of a mile. President Gene Kenny says flooding is becoming a more severe problem in springtime. Some years that extends well into the summer season, and those conditions are keeping the path from being Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, which is the intention.
A 2003 project in conjunction with the Boy Scouts installed roughly 400 feet of boardwalk already. The path also features several aids for the visually and hearing impaired. Restoration of existing facilities and the new pathway comes with a price tag of over $100,000. Kenny says a fundraising campaign begins later this year. That should not be affected by COVID-19, but construction may get pushed back if restrictions continue into 2021. Kenny says there are already plans to potentially do the project in a piecemeal fashion over several years. The DNR grant does not expire until 2022.
Newport State Park is a dark sky preserve, the only one in the Door Peninsula, but there are no programs scheduled to celebrate this year’s Perseid meteor shower. Kenny shares that the park’s naturalist, Beth Bartoli, is not permitted to organize group events at this time. Kenny says individuals are encouraged to take advantage of Newport’s facilities with peak activity expected the next two nights.
Photo courtesy of the Newport Wilderness Society Facebook page. Taken in 2017.