Fort McCoy News July 28, 2017

Celebrate National Picnic Month at Fort McCoy

Public Affairs Staff

July is National Picnic Month, and those who want to celebrate outdoors have plenty of opportunities to do so at Fort McCoy in July or any time of the year.

Picnic pavilions and areas are scattered throughout the post for military, civilian, and public use. Different rules govern the use of these areas depending on the location and managing organization.

Pavilions run by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR) may be reserved in advance, and the fees vary depending on the location. While all pavilions are free to use if they are unoccupied, fees may be required to reserve the pavilion for a unit or other group's use.

One of Pine View Campground’s picnic pavilions is shown at Fort McCoy. It’s one of many places at the installation available for people seeking to hold a picnic.
One of Pine View Campground's picnic pavilions is shown at Fort McCoy.
It's one of many places at the installation available for people seeking to
hold a picnic.

The picnic pavilions at Pine View Campground, which are near a playground and open recreation areas, are open to members of the public, as well.

"The picnic area at Pine View Campground is a great place for Family gatherings," said Jeff Uhlig, chief of the Community Recreation Division at DFMWR. "With the beach, miniature golf, and recreational equipment, local visitors can spend the whole day at Pine View and include lunch in their plans."

DFMWR also manages pavilions at Rumpel Fitness Center and Constitution Park. These pavilions are on the cantonment area and are mostly intended for unit or organizational use, though other visitors can use the facilities while on post.

Those interested in learning more about reserving a pavilion and the costs should contact Pine View Campground at 608-388-3517 or Rumpel Fitness Center at 608-388-2290 for the pavilions at the fitness center and Constitution Park.

The pavilion at the Fort McCoy Commemorative Area, which is near the Veterans Memorial Plaza, is free for both units and private groups to reserve and use while visiting the area. It's especially handy for visitors who want to bring a lunch during a tour of the Commemorative Area or during the annual Armed Forces Day Open House, which takes place at the area and building 905.

"We just ask that people be respectful of the area and plaza, as it is a military memorial," Public Affairs Specialist Theresa Fitzgerald said. "Clean up after yourselves and treat it as you would any memorial site."

Alcohol is prohibited at the Commemorative Area pavilion, as are athletic recreational activities. Rumpel Fitness Center's pavilion and athletic field are located nearby for groups that wish to play games.

For a list of visitor rules or to schedule a reservation for the Commemorative Area pavilion, call the Public Affairs Office at 608-388-2407.

South Post Housing's Patriot Park has a pavilion for post residents to enjoy, too. The pavilion is sometimes used for Family Housing or Child and Youth Services events, but no reservations are required for residents to use the area.

Picnic pavilions are located at Sandy Lake and Swamp Pond on Fort McCoy, and many other lakes have cleared areas or picnic tables available near fishing spots. Handicapped-accessible docks are available at Suukjak Sep, Stillwell, Sandy, and Big Sandy lakes and Swamp and Sparta ponds.

These areas are available for public use when they are not being used for training, said Mark Stelzner, scheduling specialist with Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Range Scheduling. People wishing to bring bagged or cold lunches and eat while fishing are welcome to use the pavilions and tables, but the Range Scheduling office needs to be contacted in advance if any sort of grill is going to be used. Call 608-388-3721 for more information.

People wishing to fish or participate in other outdoor activities on Fort McCoy need to register with the Fort McCoy iSportsman site and check to see which areas are closed for training. The appropriate Fort McCoy permits and Wisconsin licenses must be purchased before hunting, fishing, or trapping on Fort McCoy. Wisconsin game licenses and Fort McCoy fishing stamps can be purchased at the Pine View Campground store.

As in any outdoor area, picnickers are reminded to pick up after themselves and leave the area as they found it so that others can enjoy it, too.