Our mission is support the WDNR in operating and maintaining Rock Island State Park
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Lastest News


Rock Island State Park Opened on May 28th, 2021

The park opened with the dock dredging and leveling being completed in the nick of time. The Karfi is running its normal schedule.  The Lighthouse Museum and the Boathouse are both open. Firewood is available at the park for $6 a bundle.  Firewood is sold at the woodlot daily.  On Monday-Thursday and Saturday-Sunday, wood will be available from 4:30-5:30pm.  On Fridays, wood will be sold from 5:30-6:15pm because of the later Friday ferry schedule.


FORI is offering a new t-shirt this year that replicates our first t-shirt design by member, Julie Gianni.  You can get a new shirt at the Lighthouse museum shop.


2021 Calendar of Events

The FORI Board set our annual events calendar at our Spring Board meeting on April 25th.  See the Calendar tab above to see what's planned at Rock Island so far for 2021.

FORI will be honoring Michelle Hefty on her retirement from the Wisconsin DNR at a celebration at 1pm on Saturday, July 3rd at the Rock Island Boathouse.  Join us for some words about Michelle and a sweet treat for everyone who comes.


FORI Board Gifts $25,000 to DNR for Rock Island Dock Assessment

At their Winter Board meeting on February 7, 2021, the Board of the Friends of Rock Island State Park, Inc. voted to gift $25,000 in donations to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources towards the restoration of the Rock Island boat dock.  This gift will help fund the preliminary work to assess the stability of the current dock which suffered significant damage in the last year from high water levels and severe winter storms.  This inspection will result in knowing what dock repair is needed and is expected to cost about $45,000, so our gift should go a long way to getting the dock inspection completed in a timely manner.  The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board accepted our gift at their May 2021 meeting.


We continue to do fundraising for the repair phase of dock repair which will hopefully happen in 2021 and for a future break wall to shelter the dock and shoreline near the Boathouse from the angry lake.  The break wall is not expected to happen for a few years, however, due an estimated $1.5 million price tag. If you are interested in helping to fund our dock project, you may make donations online with credit card or PayPal on our Facebook page at:  Friends of Rock Island | Facebook or you may send checks to:  FORI at 1924 Indian Point Rd, Washington Island, WI 54246.  If you have questions about donating, please email us at:



FORI is asking for donations towards the renovation of the park dock at Rock Island State Park so we can help the DNR get this emergency project completed as soon as possible.  You can donate to the docking fund with credit card, Paypal or by check.  Use your credit card or Paypal account by clicking on the Donate button on our Facebook page at:  Or, send your check, made out to FORI, to the Friends of Rock Island State Park, Inc. at 1924 Indian Point Rd., Washington Island, WI 54246.  Our goal is to raise as much of the estimated $75,000 project cost as we can.

Chester Thordarson built the current island dock in the 1930's, making it time to look at a long-term upgrade that can withstand the rising and increasingly angry Lake Michigan waters to ensure access to the state park during future summer and fall seasons.

FORI is a 501c3 non-profit organization so donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

If you have questions or suggestions about this fundraiser, contact FORI via email to:


Mailorder Merchandise Available

You can order Rock Island State Park souvenir ornaments, stickers, magnets and patches by mailorder.   Complete the order form here and mail it with your check to Jim Johnston.  There are 7 vinyl stickers, 2 wooden magnets and an embroidered patch available to purchase this way.

Cell Phone Service on Rock Island

Cell service works well on Cellcom and U.S. Cellular phones. Service from other providers such as Verizon, Consumer Cellular,and Sprint is available in some areas of the island as well.  Most other providers do not offer service on Rock Island.  Please plan for this when you visit the park.

Pottawatomie Lighthouse is Wisconsin's Oldest Lighthouse!

The Lightstation on the north end of Rock Island is the oldest lighthouse in Wisconsin.  It has been restored as a live-in museum to what it was in its 1910 era.  Docents live in the lighthouse from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day each year, giving tours from 10am-4pm daily.  Tours include a visit to the lantern room to see the replica of the 4th Order Fresnel lens and to look north to St. Martin's Island in Michigan and northwest to Escanaba and the Upper Michigan Garden Peninsula.  Pottawatomie Lighthouse is a 2-flat with living quarters for the Head Keeper on the main floor and for the Assistant Keeper and his family on the second floor.  One unique feature of this lighthouse is that every room has a large closet which was very uncommon for homes built in 1858.  Besides tours, the museum has a gift shop with Rock Island and Lighthouse clothing and souvenirs.  Donations for tours are gratefully accepted in the Summer Kitchen.  


Other News:  See our News page for information on the In Wisconsin TV segments featuring Rock Island State Park and the Pottawatomie Lighthouse