The cultural side of Bike Fun was explored this past Saturday during the Tiny Museum Ride. Eight Poky Pedalers set off from Goerke Park to discover the treasures of some of Stevens Point’s tiny museums.
Our first destination was the Stevens Point Sculpture Park on the north side of the city, adjoining the Green Circle Trail just south of Zenoff Park. We casually strolled through this “museum” (PPSP uses the term quite loosely) enjoying the numerous wonderful sculptures on exhibit. An unexpected treat was the array of whimsical bicycle art that was to be auctioned off at a fund raiser later that evening.
We then rode south to Historic Fire Station No. 2 on Strongs Ave between Wisconsin and Shaurette. This building, which is the oldest surviving municipal building in Stevens Point, now houses a museum run by the Portage County Historical Society. Two PCHS volunteers gave us a tour of the museum. An old fire truck, an even older fire wagon, and many other artifacts and pictures of a bygone Stevens Point were available for us to examine.
My highlight of the day came when the PCHS folks learned that one of our Poky Pedalers is related to one of the original members of the Stevens Point Fire Department from back in the late 1800’s. Our Poky Pedaler’s husband’s grandfather was part of that first set of firefighters in Stevens Point, and her husband’s father later also served in the SPFD. Much basic info about those two SPFD members is unknown to the PCHS, and now that this personal connection has been made there is hope for filling in some informational gaps. This was truly an extraordinary Bike Fun moment.
Our final museum was on the UWSP campus. The Wisconsin Forestry Hall of Fame is located in the Trainer Natural Resources Building. The WFHoF was founded in 1984 to recognize individuals who have contributed significantly to the practice and progress of forestry in Wisconsin. Inductees include:
- M.N. “Mully” Taylor, who founded Trees for Tomorrow,
- E.M. Griffith, who was Wisconsin’s first chief forester and was instrumental in the development of the state park system,
- Aldo Leopold, who wrote on the interrelationship between forestry and wildlife management,
- Wakelin “Ranger Mac” McNeel, whose radio show “Afield with Ranger Mac”, which awakened young and old to the rewards of living in harmony with nature, earned him the George Foster Peabody award for the best educational program in the nation.
We finished our 8 mile loop by returning to Goerke Park. All participating Poky Pedalers found themselves more culturally enriched by this Bike Fun experience.
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