Students and community members enjoyed local parks, trails and waterways this summer, savoring the long days and hot weather.
Schmeeckle Reserve, local waterways and downtown parks are popular destinations for pedestrians, paddlers and hikers. Activities are steady even when the majority of students have left the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus.
Buckolt and Pfiffner Pioneer parks are among the most popular public spaces in town and are summer-activity hubs. The parks are home to summer events like Riverfront Rendezvous and concerts at the sound shell.
Ben Gutknecht, junior natural resource management major, said he enjoys the riverfront parks during the summer because they are easy to get to and they have views of the Wisconsin River.
“It’s so close to downtown. It’s perfect to take a walk through there when you’re eating out with friends,” Gutknecht said. “It’s a really nice park, and it seems like there’s always some activity down there during summer.”
While local waterways are a fun way to stay cool, they also provide opportunities for diving and paddle sports. Bob Butt, owner of Dive Point Scuba and Adventure Center, said Lake Joanis and the Plover and Wisconsin rivers are popular areas close to town for water-related activities.
“It’s been a busy summer,” Butt said. “Stand up paddle boards have been big.”
The shop rents paddle boards, kayaks and scuba equipment, and Butt recommends getting out during the fall because temperatures are more comfortable.
“Fall is kind of the best time of year for paddling actually,” Butt said. “The diving gets better as you move into the fall too because the water clears up.”
Kyle Schilling and Trevor Parsons are UWSP students and trail rangers at Schmeeckle. They said summer generally means fewer visitors but more routine visits by community members.
“I think it’s the best place to go if you want to just get away and relax,” Schilling said. “It’s pretty quiet during the summer.”
Less traffic also allows maintenance crews to work on trails in the reserve. Work has been focused on overhead safety and pathway maintenance including boardwalks.
“We did a lot of upkeep on trees this year,” Parsons said. “It’s been mostly preventative maintenance.”