About the Friends

Every “body” needs friends, and the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is no exception. In the early 1980s, the late Dan Urbanski, award winning nature photographer, and some of his Park Ranger friends gathered around a table at a local watering hole and laid the foundation for the Friends of the Porkies. The Friends is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote and support the park and its users. The group began expanding its membership, and Dan started publishing a newsletter, The Quill, to keep members informed about its activities.

Years went by. In January, 1998, seeing the advantages of establishing federal nonprofit status, the Friends elected a board of directors and officers and obtained 501(c)(3) status. Membership dues and donations to the group became tax-deductible, and the Friends could apply for grants that are available to only federally recognized nonprofit groups. Receiving funds through these grants supported programs that benefited the park, the Friends and the wider community.

So what do we do, really? Volunteers adopt the highway that leads to Lake of the Clouds with the view from its iconic overlook. Friends funds purchased Union Mine Trail Interpretive signs, and lumber to complete the ADA boardwalk to the Lake of the Clouds Overlook. The Folk School offers hands-on learning, the helmet fund provides safety for young skiers and the Artist in Residence program brings award winning painters, photographers, musicians and writers to the park. During the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, an eclectic mix of music rocks the ski hill for three glorious days and nights and lodging establishments burst at their seams.

Always we keep in mind that our primary purpose as an organization is to support the park and its staff. To learn more about us, explore the website. Click around in the AIRP and Folk School galleries. Browse through our merchandise. Become a Friend. Your membership will help the group grow and thrive.

The Friends of the Porkies Board meets monthly on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the old carpenter shop or Park headquarters. All are welcome. Please call ahead of time to verify the meeting location.