2024: Newport SP is 60 years old!

On September 24, 1964, our beautiful state park was formally established. It was known as Europe Bay State Park for 6 years; its name was changed to Newport State Park in August 1970.

The original vision of how the park might be used, including the idea of a naturalist program, from the original 1964 Wisconsin Conservation Department documents (which can be found here on the NWS website):

We are recommending that a 2,177-acre state park be established at this site to preserve an area of unusual beauty on the shores of Lake Michigan. With the available shoreline of our Great Lakes disappearing very rapidly, this 6.5 mile section of diverse frontage is very essential to our overall program. The following are some of the features of the area:

  1. Extensive shoreline on Lake Michigan with sand beaches, gravel beaches and rock formations which will have recreational, interpretive and aesthetic values.
  2. A high percentage of the area is well-wooded with several tracts of especially nice timber…will provide excellent opportunities for general hiking and the naturalist program.
  3. This section of the county is rich in Indian, French, and early Wisconsin history…
  4. The area is readily accessible by state and county highways…
  5. The development of the area will be kept quite simple and primitive to best protect and portray the natural features and semi-wilderness character of the area. It is anticipated that the development will include a 75-unit camp area, approximately 10 acres of picnic area with parking stalls for 150 cars, a swimming beach, service area and office, boat access, 6-8 miles of hiking trails, and an interpretive program. (…)

We will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of Newport on Sunday, Sept. 1 as part of our annual Wilderness Days weekend. Park staff will be hosting a trivia challenge! Maybe…how many campsites were initially planned? How many current campsites? How many miles of hiking trails were initially planned? How many miles of hiking trails exist today? When was Newport Wilderness Society established? When did we receive Dark Sky Park certification?

We will have more details about the celebration in our August newsletter. Until then, study up on your Newport history!

Top photo: Southern Sky over Newport, © Denny Moutray