Newsroom Midwest Region

Increasing access to fishing and boating in Wisconsin

June 7, 2018

Friends President Judy Budnick (standing) with Tom Melius (center) and refuge supporters. Photo by Katie Goodwin/USFWS.
Friends President Judy Budnick (standing) with Tom Melius (center) and refuge supporters. Photo by Katie Goodwin/USFWS.

We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service know the importance of making America’s national wildlife refuges accessible for everyone. Together with our partners, we provide quality fishing, boating, birding and other watchable wildlife opportunities across the midwest. Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin celebrated a recent success to this end with the opening of the Necedah Goose Pool Platform and Kayak Launch, an ADA-accessible paddling launch.

Regional Director Tom Melius was on hand last Saturday to mark the occasion with Rick Schultz of the National Wildlife Refuge Association, Friends of Necedah members and other local refuge partners. The event recognized the contributions of our many supporters who helped make the new facility possible and recognized a recent national honor that Friends of Necedah received as the National Wildlife Refuge Association Molly Krival Friends Group of the Year.

“I’d like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to the Friends of Necedah for their amazing accomplishment and donations to make this wonderful recreational area a possibility for folks who come out to enjoy this beautiful refuge,” said Regional Director Tom Melius.

Creating safe and fully accessible facilities like this takes vision and perseverance. In addition to tracking down needed funding, Friends of Necedah members worked tirelessly alongside refuge staff on the earth work and installation of this project.

"The Friends of Necedah provided a wonderful gift to the refuge. The floating observation platform definitely improved our ability to provide greater access and opportunity to our visitors,” said Necedah National Wildlife Refuge Manager Tim Bodeen.

Made up of more than 300 dedicated people, Friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge helps the refuge meet their conservation mission every day. Founded by a small group of volunteers in 1999, members work to fulfill a lofty vision of connecting people with wildlife and nature today, tomorrow and forever.

Friends members have logged more than 300,000 refuge volunteer service hours since the group was established and play wide-ranging roles on the refuge, from participating in fire management and maintenance to educating the public. The Friends board ensures the group is aligned with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service priorities to support environmental education and other public programs, along with photography and wildlife observation opportunities for people from all walks of life.

Melius and other agency staff expressed their thanks and appreciation to Friends President Judy Budnick, Vice President Bob Vethe, Treasurer Dick Roellig, Secretary Audrey Traver and executive board members: Donna Amedro, Mary Jane Bean, Audrey Chambers, Denise Cobbs, Mary Fogarty, Shirley Horner, Dale Steele and Mary Vethe.

Learn more about Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and plan your visit!

Friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Roger Leitner/USFWS.
Friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Roger Leitner/USFWS.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

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