What began as a great idea emanating from a “watchable wildlife” workshop in Stevens Point several years ago has become reality– a robust website that promotes the wonderful natural and cultural destinations of portions of 11 Central Wisconsin counties. After a year of development, the “Ancient Glacial Lake Wisconsin” website is officially launched, providing visitors with a wide variety of unique and fascinating destinations to visit in this diverse region. The goal of this project is to provide Wisconsin and regional visitors with a “go to” website to find locations in Central Wisconsin for low-impact recreation.
The Central Sand Plains of Central Wisconsin were formed during the last glacial period that began over 20,000 years ago. As the glacier advanced into Central Wisconsin, a “glacial lake” formed in front of the ice. The iconic sandstone bluffs of Central Wisconsin were once islands surrounded by water. When the ice melted the lake drained, leaving behind a vast lake bed with a sandy bottom and prominent rock formations. This relatively flat, poorly drained terrain was a vast wetland area before much of it it was drained and altered for agricultural purposes over 100 years ago.
Failed agricultural attempts resulted in converting some of the depleted lands back to wetlands. Some were never altered. The region now boasts extensive wetlands, lakes, rivers and woodlands brimming with wildlife–perfect for hiking, biking, exploring nature, camping, canoeing or kayaking. These same areas are ideal for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.
This project has been made possible with the financial support and leadership of many collaborating partners, including (but not limited to) the International Crane Foundation, Glacial Lake Cranberries, the Stevens Point Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Wisconsin Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, Black River Area Chamber of Commerce, and many other partners.
Additional financial support was provided by Kaytee Avian Foundation, American Transmission Company (ATC), Alliant Energy Foundation, Tomah Area Chamber of Commerce, Ferry Bluff Eagle Council, Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau, and other sponsors.
The Partnership is grateful to Joshua Mayer and Aaron Carlson for providing a wealth of high quality images from natural areas throughout the region for use on this site. Special thanks to Sharon Schwab of Wisconsin Rapids for serving as the initial catalyst for this initiative, and for her years of leadership on the project. Imperial Multimedia of Baraboo, Wisconsin, developed the website.
Spend a little time in Ancient Glacial Lake Wisconsin. You’ll find quiet and remote natural areas, abundant and unique wildlife, and a diversity of cultural attractions to keep you coming back. Central Wisconsin is your “close to home” destination for great outdoor recreation!