A couple years ago, Friends of Zippel Bay State Park started to shift focus away from primarily supporting nordic ski activities to a more inclusive, broad vision of support for the park.
In 2019, they successfully secured a grant from Parks & Trails Council to install a deer exclosure structure to help protect young trees from being eaten by deer. This opportunity energized the volunteers as they completed a tangible and visible project for the park. They partnered with a local scout troop and successfully erected the exclosure fencing. Their stewardship is being recognized by the local and broader community. Through articles in local newspapers and word of mouth, the group is garnering attention and interest from more folks.
The Friends takes pride in this habitat restoration project, and they look forward to expanding their activities in the coming years. Some of their hopes include organizing educational and interpretive programs for kids and campers, advocating for installation of electricity for some campsites, and even building a nature playground.
Zippel Bay State Park is seen as a gateway to Lake of the Woods for many boaters and anglers. A recent large project in the harbor upgraded the docks, fish cleaning house, parking, and accessibility. With the popularity growing, the Friends seeks to engage those visitors with different activities in other parts of the park, too.
While the Friends expands its focus to include many activities, their bread and butter is still centered around skiing. Through an innovative partnership with a local resort, the trails at Zippel Bay are groomed periodically for both skate and classic Nordic skiing. The Friends plans to host three candlelight ski and snowshoe events this winter, each timed to coincide with a full (or almost full) moon.
From unique geology and gorgeous wildflowers, to rare birds and tasty berries, this lesser-known park has a lot to offer. The Friends love for this park is evident, and they want to share its wonder with visitors from near and far!