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Paths to Discovery
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the mission of the Friends of Willow River & Kinnickinnic State Parks?

As a place where education and tourism intersect, Willow River Nature Center will provide exceptional value and leadership through avenues of recreation, education and conservation.

What does the Friends group do?

The Friends group supports the park in a variety of ways. Its main focus is education and inspiration, hence our concern about the missing 99% of park visitors who do not visit the nature center. The Friends employ the naturalists to develop and provide programming, maintain exhibits and perform outreach activities. Other support includes procurement of funding to provide equipment not otherwise available through the Department of Natural Resources and installation of structures such as the fishing piers, playground equipment and a building to house firewood, a primary source of income.

What is the Friends’ vision for the new Nature Center?

Willow River Nature Center will serve as one of Wisconsin’s leading nature centers – a gateway to experience Wisconsin’s natural environment. To serve the one million visitors to the park annually by creating a venue that attracts, educates and inspires individuals from various backgrounds and of all ages. The audience is already here. Of the one million visitors, approximately 1% visit the nature center. To dramatically increase our effectiveness. To inspire to learn in, appreciate, enjoy and protect our natural world, land water and all living things.

How is the Friends of Willow River & Kinnickinnic State Parks supported?

Friends of Willow River & Kinnickinnic State Parks is a community based non-profit organization that is funded annually through special events, sales of fire wood, equipment rentals, gifts from individuals, businesses, and grants from local and regional foundations.

There is a nature center now. Why replace it?

The existing building has outlived its usefulness. Our programming has grown to require more space for presentations and interpretive displays and the existing structure is failing. Engineers have recommended against attempts to make repairs.

What is the scope of the project?

The cost of the project is $4 million. This will fund construction of a new nature center to replace the existing Nature Center at Willow River State Park. It will be a bright, welcoming and helpful place based on the requirements of users of all types, including casual visitors, community groups, campers, hikers and skiers. The classroom facilities will be flexible and expandable to the needs of groups from preschool to adult. Many of the functions will be designed to be accessible during hours the building is not staffed. The design of the building and its surroundings, along with indoor and outdoor exhibits, will tell a series of stories about the unique geologic, historic, and natural features of the park as well as its residents.

What is the timing of the campaign?

The campaign is planned over the next 24 months. Gifts to the campaign can be pledged over a three-to-five-year period.

How can I give?

An outright gift of cash brings immediate benefit to the Paths to Discovery Campaign for Friends of Willow River & Kinnickinnic State Parks. You can pay the amount now or you can spread your pledge up to five years.

Will you take stock or other appreciated securities?

Yes. Such a gift will benefit the campaign and will provide a tax savings for the donor. Arrangements for stock transfers can be made through the Campaign Office and with your banker, broker or financial advisor.

Can I make a deferred or planned gift?

Yes. Such gifts can be effective ways of contributing to the Campaign. Your financial advisor or our Campaign Office staff will be prepared to discuss these options.

Can I restrict my gift for a specific purpose?

Yes. Although unrestricted gifts are preferred, you can restrict your gift to a specific area of interest or fund.

What about naming opportunities?

A list of naming opportunities is available for your consideration. Campaign staff will assist you in determining a suitable form of lasting remembrance.

Are there tax advantages to giving?

Yes. The campaign is spearheaded by the Friends of Willow River & Kinnickinnic State Parks, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization, and contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Please consult your accountant or tax advisor to learn more.

I already give to Friends of Willow River & Kinnickinnic annually. Should I also give to the capital campaign?

Annual gifts support ongoing daily programs. Now, the Friends has an extraordinary opportunity to build a new nature center.

Where can I get more information?

For questions about the project, donating or volunteering, contact us at:

Paths to Discovery Capital Campaign

Willow River State Park


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