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Ask a Local: Beth Bartoli Natural Resources Educator at Newport State Park


Join the ever-enthusiastic naturalist Beth Bartoli year-round as she coordinates hikes through 2,400-acre Newport State Park. There are wildflower walks in the spring, migrating monarch butterfly treks in the summer, and tree identification talks when the leaves turn color. Come winter, the park offers candlelight skiing and snowshoeing, plus prime viewing of the cosmos as soon as the sun goes down. Newport State Park is the only International Dark Sky Park in Wisconsin, and Bartoli was instrumental in obtaining this prestigious designation, which recognizes select destinations worldwide for their low light pollution and educational opportunities, like telescopes to spot stars, planets, the Milky Way galaxy, and sometimes even the northern lights.  

Bartoli’s background in horticulture (she once owned a flower shop) and as a NAI Certified Naturalist Guide and Master Naturalist make her an expert in leading other park activities. This includes bluebird monitoring, and touting the rugged beauty of this wilderness landscape, which features rocky outcroppings, hidden coves, serene Europe Lake, and remote campsites.

Q. What wildlife do you see at Newport State Park?
A. In the evenings, you’ll see deer and fawns, plus grouse and turkeys. Otter and mink are active in Lake Michigan during the winter. One night I almost tripped over a couple of porcupines waddling around in the Night Sky Viewing Area.

Q. What is your favorite trail at the park?
A.  Though it doesn’t have a big elevation change, the Lynd Point Trail is rich with geological features and stunning shoreline views of Lake Michigan.

Q. Where else do you go to experience nature?
A. The Mink River Estuary — the cleanest estuary in the US — is only accessible by boat or hiking in; it’s a quiet place to spot eagle nests and other habitats by the water.

Q. Where do you go for a cup of coffee?
A.  Kick Ash is a community spot in Ellison Bay for book clubs, mahjong, and Internet access, and it’s a gluten-free facility. What’s better than coffee and homemade dessert? 

Q. What’s your favorite breakfast spot?
A. Once a month I meet friends at the White Gull Inn Restaurant for brunch. If I could just get the hash browns I would, because they are just that good.

Q. Where do you relax after a busy day?
A. I like to hang out on my back deck, aka “Wine Fort,” which is filled with potted plants, flowers, and a fountain. In the winter, I make ice candles and tell my friends to come over and bundle up like they’re at a Packers game. Winter is a magical time of year.

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