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Bong Naturalist Association (BNA) is so pleased that you are here!  

We are the Friend’s Group that supports Richard Bong State Recreation Area (RBSRA.)  We offer a variety of programs for visitors of all ages and help to fund park improvements for all to enjoy.  Please scroll down to see BNA News and be sure to click on the Calendar of Events tab for upcoming events at RBSRA!  Just a reminder that a Wisconsin State Park vehicle admission sticker or a daily entrance fee is required to enter the park

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board accepts 132-Acre Land Donation for RBSRA

It’s official! On May 22, 2024 the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board (NRB) voted to accept the donation of 132 acres of land located adjacent to the SE corner of Richard Bong State Recreation Area (RBSRA.), and at the same time make this land part of RBSRA. 

Over the past four years, the Bong Naturalist Association (BNA) has worked tirelessly to raise over $365,000 needed to match State and Federal grants, culminating in raising a total $1.3M needed to make the purchase. About a year into the process the BNA joined forces with Ducks Unlimited, the fifth largest land trust in the US, for without their help the acquisition would not be possible. In addition, the NRB voted unanimously to acknowledge the BNA for its gift and presented a certificate of acknowledgement thanking the BNA for its part in making this gift possible.

The BNA will be forever grateful to numerous local businesses and private individuals who made donations to the effort, the Knowles Nelson Grant Foundation, Federal Fish and Wildlife, and all local government bodies who supported and encouraged this acquisition to move forward.

All RBSRA Campgrounds are Open!

We are happy to announce that as of Thursday, May 23rd, all RBSRA campgrounds are open!

With both Sunrise and Sunset campgrounds open, Bong offers campers a total of 214 campsites, 57 with electric hookups.  Large groups can book one of the six group campsites and Bong also offers a fully accessible cabin.  

All showers will be open; the park dump stations opened in April.  Firewood is sold year-round at the Molinaro Visitor Center/Headquarters parking lot through a firewood vending machine which is open 24/7. You can pay with any major credit card or debit card, but sorry, not by cash.

For RBSRA camping rules, maps of Sunrise Campground and Sunset Campground and additional information on our accessible cabin for people with disabilities, please click on the following link:  https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/parks/richardbong/recreation/camping  Just a reminder to be considerate to your fellow campers:  pets are not allowed in the bathrooms/shower areas and dishes should not be washed at the drinking fountains.

All sites must be reserved via the DNR Camping Reservations system at:  https://wisconsin.goingtocamp.com/

Stop by the Visitor Center and pick up a brochure on BNA Events or click on the Calendar of Events on this website.   Join us on Saturdays at 2:00 pm for our Live Snake Encounter at the Visitor’s Center. In addition to this website, other events are listed on our Bong Naturalist Association FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/bongnaturalistassociation/ and on the DNR/RBSRA calendar at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/events?location=Richard%20Bong%20State%20Recreation%20Area

Other events are listed on the Calendar of Events tab on this website, our Bong Naturalist Association FaceBook page and on the DNR/RBSRA calendar

America’s Ace of Aces, Richard I. Bong’s, P-38 Lightening Fighter Found in Papua New Guinea

Richard Bong State Recreation Area (RBSRA) is named after World War II Flying Ace and America’s Ace of Aces, Richard I Bong. 

On May 24, 2024, the Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center, in Superior, WI, announced that Major Richard I Bong’s P-38 Lightening fighter plane, Marge, had been located in Papua New Guinea.  The Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center collaborated with Justin Taylan, Director of Pacific Wrecks, Inc., in a historic project to locate Richard Bong’s P-38, Marge

Justin Taylan, search team leader, travelled to Papua New Guinea where Richard Bong’s P-38 Lightening, Marge, went down due to engine troubles while flown by another pilot more than 80 years ago.  Using cutting edge technology and working closely with the Papua New Guineas government Justin Taylan found several matching serial numbers as well as sections that had been painted red, that were specific to that aircraft, which confirmed the plane was indeed, the P-38 Lightening, Marge, flown by Richard Bong during his career. 

Aldo Leopold Benches for Sale!

In celebration of Aldo Leopold and the 75th anniversary of A Sand County Almanac, BNA is selling Aldo Leopold Benches!

These beautifully hand-crafted cedar-tone benches are available in 3-foot or 4-foot lengths. Dimensions: 4 ft = 51”(w) x 29”(h) x 27”(d); 3 ft = 39”(w) x 29”(h) x 27”(d)

Benches will be made upon receipt of payment (check) and will be available for pick-up only at Richard Bong State Recreation Area (RBSRA), at the address below, within 4-6 weeks. Benches will be assembled unless specifically requested in the special instructions on the order form.

All funds raised as a result of this special event will support BNA/RBSRA events, programs and facilities!

Aldo Leopold Bench Prices:
$140 – 4’ Cedar-tone Bench
$135 – 3’ Cedar-tone Bench

To order:
Click on the following link to obtain the BNA Aldo Leopold Bench Order Form:
Pay by check – make checks payable to “Bong Naturalist Association”; and
Mail your check and order form to: BNA c/o RBSRA, 26313 Burlington Road, Kansasville, WI 53139 BNA will contact you when you Aldo Leopold Bench is available for pick-up at RBSRA.

BNA – Aldo Leopold Bench – Order Form – 1-27-24 – Final

Please contact us with any questions at bnaleopoldbench@gmail.com

Join the BNA in honoring Aldo Leopold and celebrating the 75th anniversary of his groundbreaking work!

BNA offers our sincere thanks for participating in this special event!
BNA | Bong Naturalist Association – Friends of Richard Bong State Recreation Area


BNA News:

2024 Master Naturalist Volunteer Training at Bong –
Registration Now Open!!

If interested please add your name to the wait list.

Click for details:  Master Naturalist Volunteer Training at RBSRA – 1-14-24

Link to Registration

Adaptive Sportsmen Event

The BNA sponsored a special pheasant hunt with the southeastern chapter of Adaptive Sportsman in early November, welcoming hunters to the park for an accessible hunting experience.

Using all terrain tracked wheelchairs and working alongside the expertly trained dogs, all of the hunters reached their bag limits. Following the hunt, the BNA hosted a luncheon and many of the hunters stayed to explore some of the RBSRA accessible hiking.

Creating accessible programs like this allows more people to enjoy our beautiful park— and fuels a sense of welcoming inclusivity. The BNA would be happy to work toward hosting more events – not limited to hunting – with organizations for people of all ages, abilities and sensitivities.

Please click on this link to read the full story including the outstanding partner organizations that made this wonderful event possible as well as additional pictures of the great day!