Remembering Harvey Stahl

By Beth Bartoli, Newport SP Naturalist

Harvey was a man of quick wit, extending his warm smile and the twinkle in his eye to all. He was also a lover of nature and the outdoors, which he shared with the many visitors he came in contact with during his 32 years with the WI DNR. But he could also be tough as nails. He loved his job and was proud of his work. He was superintendent of Potawatomi SP and later Newport SP, serving at Newport from 1975 to 1988. He passed away in November 2022 at the age of 88.

He loved this park, working tirelessly to make her the jewel he saw her becoming. He helped create many of the trails and campsites we use today, following deer or animal trails to see where they were leading. 

His daughter Ruth shared these stories:

“Harvey worked countless hours year round in the little contact station that predated our main office, enthusiastically telling visitors all about the park. Many would end up buying annual stickers instead of daily ones. In fact, after Harvey retired, the DNR saw such a drastic drop in annual sticker sales that they had to call and find out what happened. 

“Harvey also went out and patrolled the parking lots, particularly Lot 3, every night. He felt it was his duty as superintendent and the reason he lived on the property. He ran a tight ship, but was loved by the people who knew him.”

Harvey Stahl at his Newport contact station post

The naturalist’s office has the honor of housing the log desk that Harvey’s dad made. Up until a year or so before Harvey passed away, he would come into the office to make sure the desk was still at Newport. Apparently, after he retired, someone moved it to Peninsula State Park. Harvey had a fit. Not long after he discovered its absence the desk made its way back to Newport…where it still resides today.

Harvey’s family had a memorial bench made, which now has a place of honor outside the park office building. We could use more Harvey’s in this world, and we are very grateful for his years of service at Newport.