News from the Park

Autumn Update: 2022

IMG 8514It has been wonderful to resume some of the usual activities of the Friends of the Park, such as Work Play Earth Day, the free weekend Pancake Breakfast, and the Fall Harvest Hike.  Rainy weather reduced turnout for the first two events, but the Fall Hike had good weather and attendance.  

playgroundThe playground finally got installed and has been enjoyed by many children and adults.  The Ansay Welcome Center has had some rentals.  The campground and accessible cabin have had good use and wonderful hosts.  The Northern Cross Science Foundation volunteers resumed their monthly telescope viewings, reporting over 80 visitors at their 9/30 event.

New Park Ranger Samantha Ortlieb was given the responsibility to manage volunteers and schedule naturalist programs.  She herself did monthly walks sharing her forestry knowledge of park trees.  She can be contacted with offers of doing a program or to provide volunteer help.

Carolyn Morgen took a new position as a Natural Resource Manager and is now based at the Fitchburg Service Center. Sara Crook has been chosen as the new superintendent and will be starting in her new position in early November.  Katelyn transferred to a KA park ranger position, and Lydia transferred to Treehaven for a year. Those positions were not refilled so office hours were shortened.

Lake Michigan water levels have continued to drop and we have wider sandy beach areas, on both the north and south beaches.  The shoreline erosion continued due to some heavy rainstorms and plans to move the paved road are still not finalized.  A revised park map was completed, adding the playground, the eroded road, and clearly showing where the beach permitting pets is located.  It can be obtained at the park or downloaded from the DNR website.

We are still in need of new Board members.  Contact us at  with your questions about being a Board member.

Spring Update - 2022

Welcome to Spring at Harrington Beach State Park.

Make each of your visits into a different adventure!  Puckett's Pond in Spring

  • Watch for the early invasives such as garlic mustard, dandelions, or honeysuckle leafing out.
  • View and try to identify the birds migrating north along Lake Michigan or paddling around Quarry Lake.  
  • Count the many insects and other creatures in the many little streams flowing into the two lakes and Puckett’s Pond.  
  • Explore the beach for any treasures winter waves washed up and bag up any litter along the way.
  • Keep your eyes open for the first swimmers to go into Lake Michigan.  
  • Enjoy the songbirds in the park and the lovely purple martins in their house near the park office.
  • Discover a trail through a variety of environments, from cedar swamps, prairies, and former farmland maybe being overtaken by honeysuckle, red osier dogwood and Canada thistle, but also having apple trees and wild berries and changing displays of wildflowers.

The park is an ever-changing adventure, just waiting for you to enjoy!

Get Involved in the Park!

The DNR has recently reopened its buildings for indoor events with staff, volunteers, and visitors.  

Tree Planting 2021Volunteer Opportunities:

The Friends of Harrington Beach State Park (FHBSP) will be needing volunteers to:

  • prepare and serve lunch for the volunteers at Work Play Earth Day
    on April 23rd.
  • spread wood chips that will be used for part of our new playground surfacing
    in late April.
  • clean and prepare the accessible cabin for the opening of the season
    in mid to late April.
  • throughout the season: trail clean-up, weeding, firewood (splitting and bundling), temporary soda machine stocking.
  • share ideas of your own!  Email us at:

Join the FHBSP!

We welcome your involvement with the FHBSP! Become a member, serve on our board, join us in our mission to make the park the best it can be!  The FHBSP board of directors meets on the 4th Tuesday – every other month. Our next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, April 26, 2022 at 6:00pm. The meeting is open to the public. We hope you can join us! 

Keep up-to-date on all that is happening in the park!

Be sure to “Like” us on Facebook and watch our website calendar for events and opportunities: 

Check the new Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Opportunities website
( to see what you could help with at your nearby park.


Autumn Update - 2021

20211108 105928 1The park continues to provide lovely areas to bicycle, ride horses, walk or run, observe animals and birds, enjoy the lovely late-season flowers and grasses, fish, and hunt. Swimming was good this summer with warmer water temperatures and the lower lake levels, with sand bars to play on near shore. Staff cleared some of the downed trees on the south beach that gave more room for visitors with dogs.

playground plan introInstallation of the playground has been deferred until spring, due to delays in decisions on the equipment and the exact placement of the playground, cancellation of the NRB meeting that would have had the donation proposal on its agenda, and Lee Recreation’s busy schedule. While we now have the money needed for the project, we will continue to accept donations to cover unexpected expenses related to the installation. We are grateful to the donors who helped us reach our goal.

Lake Michigan erosion at Harrington Beach State ParkThe DNR staff are working on a plan to rebuild the part of the Stonehaven (shuttle) road that was undermined by the high water levels. Unfilled staff positions in the Kohler-Andrae and Harrington Beach State Parks reduced the office hours and ability to provide educational programs.

The Ansay Center has been closed for the winter season. It will be open again for rentals in early June. Consider the Ansay Center for your 2022 events! More information can be found here:

The Friends of HBSP need more Board members. Our next meeting will be on February 22, 2022; watch for more details on our event calendar and Facebook page.

Summer Update - June 2021

South Beach AreaSummer at the park offers us all so many more activities to enjoy in the outdoors.  The Friends are happy to be able to again offer the vending machines and sell firewood that is from dead trees that are cut down in the park and bucked by park staff.  Volunteers split the wood, stack it, and move it to the woodshed as needed.  Visitors can purchase wood when the drive-up window is open, and all proceeds go to park projects. We missed holding the free Pancake Breakfast again this year and we await DNR guidelines for other events this summer.

We are grateful for the donations and grants made to our playground fund.  Your donation of any amount can be made online (donate via PayPal), at the office, or by mailing a check to the HB office.  Visit our playground project page for more details:

North Beach AreaWe need new board members to replace several whose terms expired.  Board members work with park staff in planning appropriate volunteer projects and raising money to improve the park. Please email us at  if you have questions or would like to be a board member.

It is great to see our sandy beach widen again as Lake Michigan water levels have decreased.  Like other beaches along the Lake Michigan shoreline our mile long shoreline was affected by the high water and waves. One set of steps has been reinstalled, near the Quarry Lake shelter.   The best swimming area for people is the north beach area a bit south of the Ansay Center path.  It is now open almost to the point.  The beach by the South picnic area has also widened, but it is rockier.  People with pets are allowed to use only the beach south of the point.
Shuttle Road Path

The detour off the Stonehaven shuttle road has been removed. Staff roped off a walk area away from the undermined road section so visitors can walk the entire paved road.

For other information on park activities click on “activities” on this website. You can call the park office with questions; they are open daily now and will return messages.  Also, check the Friends Facebook posts that appear under News on this page.