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Volunteer day planned for White River Park



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April 22, 2014 | 10:48 AM
LYONS — County officials hope volunteers will help prepare the White River Park for its grand opening.

The newest park in Walworth County will open to the public during a dedication ceremony on July 10 at 6 p.m.

A volunteer day is set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday May 10. Volunteers can spend all or part of the day there. The event will happen rain or shine.

“It is a good opportunity to see the park and work on improving the trails and paint picnic tables,” Kevin Brunner, the county’s director of central services, said. “It will be a fun day.”

Earlier this year, the county closed on parkland in the town of Lyons at the intersection of Sheridan Springs and Short roads.

The 196 acres feature nearly 9,200 feet of frontage on the meandering White River. The park also has a spring-fed quarry and established trails.

So, what does the county need from volunteers to help prepare the park to open? Colleen Lesniak, volunteer organizer with Walworth County Volunteer Services said volunteers will assist with trail maintenance, painting picnic tables, cleaning out the barn and storage buildings and clearing an area for a canoe/kayak launch.

“We are also looking for (a) Scouts group (or) individual who would like to build kayak racks for the park,” Lesniak wrote in an email.

Lesniak said the volunteer work will be physically demanding and said painting picnic tables will be the least demanding work.

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Volunteers need to be 16 or older. If younger volunteers want to help they must be accompanied by an adult, Lesniak said.

She said it would be helpful if volunteers brought work gloves and loppers, which is a garden tool used for pruning small branches. She added that the public works department will have tools on hand.

Lesniak said this is the first workday she has hosted at a Walworth County park, but that’s primarily because the other two parks have been long established.

On the White River Bike Trail, Lesniak has a volunteer day where students from the alternative high school remove garlic mustard.

Another work day at the White River Park is scheduled for July 24, which will be held in conjunction with the Walworth County United Way.

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Volunteers must preregister with Lesniak and contact her at clesniak@co.walworth.wi.us. Registration is needed by May 7. Snacks and water will be provided to volunteers.

More about the park

The final price tag on the park was $1.91 million, and the county secured a nearly $1 million grant from the DNR’s stewardship program to purchase the land.

To receive the DNR grant, the county agreed to allow hunting, trapping, hiking, cross-country skiing and fishing.

Brunner said the county is in the process of building a parking lot for the park.

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In other park news, Brunner said on Monday the park committee approved a partnership with the county and the Geneva Lake Conservancy for planning and development for the White River Park.

The committee also approved a partnership between the county and the Kettle Moraine Land Trust for Natureland and Price Parks.

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