Author Archives: Friends of Grant Park

Traveling Beer Garden returns

If it’s summertime in Milwaukee, it’s time for Sprecher’s Traveling Beer Garden to roll into Grant Park. This summer, look for the Roll Out the Barrel Tour in Grant Park from June 23rd to July 5th. The tap will be pumping brews Mon. – Fri. from 5 pm to 9 pm. Saturday, Sunday & Holidays 11 am to 9 pm. For more information, and additional dates/parks over the summer, visit

Vintage Quilt Virtual Auction

We wish to thank Colleen Grundy for her winning bid of $200.

We are offering this vintage hand-quilted coverlet as a virtual auction item, beautiful as a wall hanging, useful as a lap warmer or baby blanket to be passed on to future generations.

Bidding will begin at $35, in minimum increments of $5, with the quilt awarded to the highest bidder as of 5 pm St. Patrick’s Day, Wednesday, March 17th. Bids will be posted on facebook and our website as we receive them.

The quilt can be inspected in person if arranged in advance.

Funds raised will support our summer Suburban Soles program speakers.

Bids received:

2/17/21: C.G. $200

100% Cotton top and back
100% polyester batting
Hand quilted
Casing on top and bottom to hold rods, included

A Practical Gift Idea

We have several natural canvas tote bags for sale. Take to the library, the beach, or wherever you go. If you are willing to bag your own groceries, these stylish and sturdy totes can help reduce the need for plastic or paper grocery bags… Also highlights our great park and benefits our group’s fundraising goals. Machine wash warm, hang to dry. To order, send email to, and we’ll contact you regarding payment and pickup or local delivery.

Wanted: Grant Park Inspired Art

The Friends of Grant Park (FOGP) are seeking original artwork inspired by the varied nature and seasons of Grant Park. The artwork will be used in our fundraising 2022 calendar. Please help FOGP raise funds to help preserve and improve our park.

Artwork should be:

  • Representing/depicting spring, summer, fall or winter
  • Any size, any medium
  • Composed horizontally or able to be cropped into a horizontal format
  • 2 dimensional

We prefer unframed and unmatted work but are able to use framed work.

If your artwork is selected:

  • Your artwork will need to be delivered (location for drop off to be announced) or picked up by one of our volunteers by May 1, 2021. Artwork will be returned two weeks from the date received by FOGP. 
  • You can send a HIGH RESOLUTION jpeg (5 or 6 mb) of the artwork by May 15, 2021 or we can put it on a copy stand and photograph it for you
  • You will be credited on the page with your artwork

To share your artwork, please send a photo via email by April 2021 to:

Please help Friends of Grant Park raise funds to help preserve the character and beauty of our park.

Socially Distant Arbor Day

The friends of Grant Park were very fortunate to receive 200 Quercus rubra/Red Oak saplings donated by Caterpillar, Inc.  Oaks may be the single most important tree in North America for wildlife value. However, even though April 24th was Arbor Day, no one was gathering anywhere to honor the spirit of the day, let alone plant trees.

Quercus rubra

The plan last Fall was to make a tree available to every one of our incredible Weed Out volunteers in Spring 2020 for planting in the areas we have managed to clear (mostly, ahem) of invasive garlic mustard and old-specie Japanese Tree Lilac.  We hoped to help make the connection as to why we even bother with the weeds.  It’s for the trees and the forest that we commit our annual spring efforts to removing invasive species; so it makes sense that we carry forward with a new generation of tree planting, right?

Our problem was obvious: the valuable Oaks arrived last week and we’re presented with the question: how do we spread the task of transplanting them among volunteers who have been instructed to avoid gatherings and stay at home? The answer we found: one planter or family unit at a time using printed “how-to” directions, social distancing, and masks. Several intrepid volunteers from our group agreed to plant in an area recently cleared of a dense growth of the invasive Japanese Tree Lilac which had been spreading via root systems unchecked in our original County Parks nursery for 100 years. Working independently, or as a single unit family group, transplanting was begun on April 26th. We hope to have 200 trees in the ground by May 1st.

Thank you to our family and solo units: John & Peyton; Becky, Rob, George & Peter; Pam & Dave; Betsy, Rick, Deb, Jody and Lynn for their help at this time. We are hopeful our efforts take root, and that flagging for the new small trees will help visitors to the park avoid stepping on them.  

Suburban Soles Guided Nature Hikes 2021 Calendar

Back by popular demand, Suburban Soles nature hike is ready for our fourth season. Friends of Grant Park is proud to sponsor this program, starting on Sunday, the 2nd of May, and running every 2 weeks through Sept. 19th. You can join the Sunday morning hike at 10 am. Each walk lasts about 90 minutes and may involve stairs. Consider bringing along a water bottle and/or bug spray as needed, and comfortable shoes or boots which may prove ideal when walking along muddy paths. Check the schedule for meeting location which varies from hike to hike.

These events will follow 6 ft. social distancing guidelines. Face masks are strongly encouraged. Please consider others and do not attend this event if you have any suspicion of illness or may have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

We will also post the flyer in kiosks within Grant Park.

See you on the trails!

COVID-19 information and closures

The entrance roads into Grant Park are open. Restrooms are closed. The golf course is open; call to book a tee time, (414) 762-4646. Parks has canceled park rentals, and special events and organized sports activities.

“The health and safety of our community and staff members are our highest priority,” Parks Executive Director Guy Smith said. “We want to remind people that Parks remain a healthy support in this situation. People may practice social distancing and healthy habits while enjoying their parks, and the department will do our best to keep outdoor park facilities accessible to the public during this challenging time.”

Current Opening Status, Updated Sept. 14, 2020

  • Milwaukee County Parks – open, most amenities use at your own risk
  • Oak Leaf Trail – open
  • Forked Aster Hiking Trails – open
  • Golf Courses – open for modified play, tee times available
  • Disc Golf Courses – open
  • Dog Parks – open (except Bay View – closed to establish turf growth)
  • Playgrounds – open, use at your own risk
  • Public Restrooms – closed
  • Community Centers – closed
  • Beaches – most open, no lifeguards, use at your own risk, swim hazard risk report
    NOTE: McKinley Beach Closed to Swimming for the rest of the 2020 Season
  • Sports facilities – tennis courts open
  • Picnic Rentals – Purchase a picnic permit online! For groups of up to 100, Saturdays & Sundays only. at Grant, Brown Deer, Lincoln, Washington & Greenfield Parks. Get Details!
    (NOTE: Rentals at other locations remain canceled until at least September 30) Please contact  Public Services 414-257-8005 
  • Outdoor Wedding Ceremony Permits – available in select locations
  • Outdoor Photography Permits – available in select locations
  • Outdoor Fitness Class Permits – available in select locations

For more information from Milwaukee County, please continue to monitor updates online: We are also providing updates on the Parks Nextdoor website and on social media.

Rolling Back Environmental Protections?

The Friends of Grant Park are concerned about the Environmental Protection Agency’s programs being whittled down to a bare minimum by the current administration. We hope members will contact their legislators and vote for candidates that advocate for stronger environmental protections. Here is an article to illustrate our concern:

South East Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission’s Master Plan for Oak Creek Watershed

After months of study, the South East Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) has posted Chapter 4 of the master plan for the Oak Creek watershed. Some surprising findings include PCB levels discovered at the sand bar mouth of Oak Creek at Grant Park beach that are twice as high as those at the MKE harbor. Also, high chlorides found in the watershed. You can read the report online at

The summary presentation for the 2nd half of Chapter 4 of the Oak Creek plan is now available on the project website (as of June 5).  It can be found at the link below – the presentation is located at the top of the links under the title Summary Presentation for the second half of Chapter 4.

The Friends of Grant Park sent a letter of concern on January 24th, 2020, to the WI-DNR regarding the high PCB levels found at the mouth of Oak Creek in Grant Park. Four days later, the WI-DNR and the EPA announced the Great Lakes Legacy Act Agreement (signed on Jan. 6, 2020) to address a 32-year-old Area of Concern: the Milwaukee Harbor Estuary, which had PCB levels half as high as the Oak Creek samples taken by SEWRPC. We are still waiting for a reply.