Merrick State Park is one of many public lands that started as a gift from John Latsch, a wealthy Winona grocer. After finding himself caught in a storm while paddling his canoe in the sloughs of the Mississippi, he found himself confronted with an angry landowner while he was riding out the storm under his canoe. Not wishing that others should have such an unsettling experience, he ordered the purchase of available lands along both sides of the river, becoming southeastern Minnesota's greatest conservationist. He donated land to Minnesota, Wisconsin and the City of Winona. These lands eventually became parts or all of John A. Latsch State Wayside and Whitewater State Park in Minnesota and Perrot and Merrick state parks in Wisconsin. He said he gave the land so that the boys of today and tomorrow would have a permanent place to play.
Today, the boys and girls and their parents continue to enjoy his gift. At Merrick State Park, people can cross country ski or snowshoe the hiking trails in the winter, enjoy a picnic at one of the many picnic areas within the park or....go fishing! There are boat launches and canoe landings at both ends of the park. One can choose to paddle the quiet sloughs and backwaters or use this area to head out into the main channel and try their angling luck. On the day this cache was placed, Pooh's Pal was happy to catch his very first fish right off the pier of the south boat landing! Even if you don't have luck fishing, you can find one of several caches located in the park, including this one along a nice wooded hiking trail.
Mississippi and Chippewa Rivers Biome
The Driftless Region serves as home to these two rivers, and many, many more, and is in a deciduous forest biome. Most of this part of southwestern Wisconsin was not touched by the last glaciers and displays a very rugged landscape dominated by limestone bluffs rising above the two main rivers. Valleys carved by smaller rivers and streams abound, but anything resembling a lake is the result of human intervention. The predominant vegetation is mixed hardwoods such as oak, aspen, and maples. With the abundant spring fed streams in every valley, the trout fishing in this biome is world class. The big river is one of the main flyways for bird migration and plays host to birds using that flyway, including huge concentrations of Tundra Swans in the spring and fall. Timber Rattlesnakes are timid venomous snakes that inhabit those rocky bluffs.
WISCONSIN GEOCACHING ASSOCIATION
The Wisconsin Geocaching Association (WGA) is a group of geocachers dedicated to promoting and protecting geocaching within the state of Wisconsin. The WGA organizes geocaching events, works with land owners/managers on geocaching policies, educates the public at large about geocaching, and facilitates communication between WGA members. To learn more about the WGA visit: www.wi-geocaching.com
2013 kicks off the beginning of the Wisconsin Geocaching Association State Parks series. It is our goal to place a geocache in every state park in the state of Wisconsin so watch out for more in this series that encourages geocachers to explore the natural resources in this beautiful state of ours.
The Geocache Notification Form has been submitted to Merrick State Park of the Wisconsin DNR, with special thanks to Christina Lake of the DNR. Geocaches placed on Wisconsin Department of Natural Respirces land all require the form submission.