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New ‘Kids Don’t Float’ life vest kiosk planned for Avoca
Lower Wisconsin River
New DNR signs for kids don't float kiosks
THE 'KIDS DON'T FLOAT' loaner life vest kiosks, up and down the Lower Wisconsin Riverway, are getting a face lift with new signs provided by Wisconsin DNR. The new signs replace faded old signs. As the paddling season begins on the Riverway, Friends of the Lower Wisconsin River (FLOW) is once again busy making sure the kiosks are well stocked with loaner life vests.

LOWER WISCONSIN RIVER - At their Thursday, April 21 meeting at Grandma Mary’s Café in Arena, the Friends of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway (FLOW) learned that the Village of Avoca will become the latest addition to the ‘Kids Don’t Float’ life vest kiosks. The kiosks are placed at boat landings up and down the Lower Wisconsin River to offer free loaner life vests to citizens who recreate on the river.

“The Muscoda Lions have contributed $500 to build and install the kiosk, and Mark Cupp and others will help,” FLOW president Timm Zumm told the board. “The kiosk will be maintained by volunteers from the village.”

FLOW board member Dave Krueger is the volunteer that drives the route weekly to make sure that all the kiosks in the Riverway are stocked with vests. He stated that he plans to begin placing life vests at the kiosks in the next few weeks.

Zumm told the board that new signs for the kiosks, from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) are currently in production.

Professor Gartner and Christina Dennis
CHRISTINA DENNIS (center), a senior in the UW-Madison Geography Department, is working on a map of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway that portrays its cultural and social history. The map will be Dennis' senior project. Seen with her is her academic advisor, Professor William Garner (left) and FLOW president Timm Zumm.

Riverway map

Dr. Bill Gartner, professor of geography at UW-Madison, and his student Christina Dennis, were the featured speakers at the meeting. Dennis is working on a ‘Lower Wisconsin River Cultural and Heritage Map’ as her senior project.

“To date, Christina has added in various features such as effigy mounds and other known cultural and heritage features on the Riverway,” Gartner explained. “She has also met with Mark Cupp and Don Greenwood of Cultural Landscape Legacies for input about features to include on the map.”

LWR map_front
LWR map_back

When the map is completed, it will be available both in print, and as a downloadable feature that can be displayed on a smart phone. The maps will be available free of charge at the offices of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway Board (LWSRB) in Muscoda.

“Once the map is downloaded on a phone, it will be linked with a global positioning system,” Gartner said. “So, not only will the map enhance the experience on the river for those enjoying it, it will also serve as a safety feature, allowing paddlers who may experience an emergency to help first responders understand their location on the river.”

Gartner said that the final part of the map development project will employ an innovative technique called ‘participatory mapping.’ He said that the plan is to hold meetings in communities up and down the Riverway to present the map and invite community discussion and feedback about the features represented on the map, features that could be added to the map, and the social and cultural history associated with those features.

“We expect that the meetings will be held in May and June,” Gartner said. “We are tentatively planning meetings for Prairie du Chien, Boscobel, Muscoda and Sauk City, but more or different locations may be added as well.”

Events planned

Board member Don Golembiewski, who chairs FLOW’s Events Committee, reported on plans for upcoming events.

“Of course, getting out on the river to paddle is a prime Riverway attraction, but holding these events is a way to help the public understand the great diversity available to people who choose to recreate here,” Golembiewski said. 

Golembiewski said that there are three upcoming events planned in the coming months:

• Effigy Mounds Tour at the Muscoda Morel Mushroom Festival, coming up on Saturday, May 14 – a good option for those that missed FLOW’s tour on April 9

• Hike at the Spring Green Preserve, lead by Kim Russell, at a time when flowering plants and cactus flowers will be available for viewing – date tba in early June

• Fish Electroshoking below the Prairie du Sac Dam by FLOW Science Team member John Lyons – date tba in early July

Zumm reported on community events in which ‘Flo the Paddlefish’ will make an appearance. Those events include ‘Trout Days’ in Cross Plains on May 7, the ‘Muscoda Morel Mushroon Festival’ parade on May 14, and the ‘Fools Flotilla,’ part of the Marquette Neighborhood Festival in Madison.

The board also voted unanimously to make a donation of $300 to the Three Eagles Foundation. This donation is awarded in thanks for the indispensable assistance provided with FLOW’s Effigy Mounds Sampler Tour in April.

In other business

In other business, the board:

• learned that volunteer Nick Schewitzer had provided a review copy for potential revisions to the FLOW Bylaws

• learned that the Science Team had received a $600 grant from Dane County to pay for water quality sampling of an ‘artificial lake’ created from a borrow pit along Highway 78 – the work is part of an ongoing project to document nitrate contamination of the sloughs and oxbows along the river

• approved a design for new magnetic signs for vehicles with an updated design, and with FLOW’s new ‘voice-over-internet-protocol’ phone number included

• learned that the current balance in the FLOW’s account is $12,957.38, less $1,769.75 held in trust for the Sauk County Conservation Network

• learned that outgoing treasurer Jennifer Lanzdorf had met with new treasure Patrick Michaels to train him on FLOW’s accounting procedures and software

• approved appointment of Sherry Holly as the ninth member of the FLOW board, and board secretary

• recognized Jerry Dorscheid for his many years of service on the LWSRB board.